Sports

Indiana aims to maintain pace vs. Milwaukee

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers will put their six-game winning streak on the line when they resume a four-game homestand Thursday versus the Milwaukee Bucks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The surging Pacers have won 12 of their last 14 games and are seventh in the Eastern Conference, just a half-game ahead of the Miami Heat.

Indiana made it six straight wins with Tuesday's 118-86 blowout of the Orlando Magic, as Rodney Stuckey finished with a season-high 34 points and buried a career-best six 3-pointers (6-of-9). Stuckey ended 13-of-19 from the field and also had seven assists with six rebounds.

"I don't know if it's the best he's played in his career, but it's got to be close," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said of Stuckey.

Damjan Rudez posted 17 points and five assists for the red-hot Pacers, who had 37 assists on 45 field goals and tied a franchise record with 17 3-pointers (17-of-34). Luis Scola added 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, which scored 73 points to Orlando's 55.

The Pacers are first in bench scoring (41.8 ppg).

The Pacers are unbeaten in their last six home games and have a 17-14 record in Indy this season. Boston and Toronto are slated to visit the Pacers.

Indiana is third in opponents' scoring at 96.0 ppg and has held teams to 86 points or fewer during the current win streak. It is one of three teams in NBA history to hold opponents under 90 points and below 40 percent shooting in six straight games, joining the 1997 San Antonio Spurs and 2004 Detroit Pistons.

Pacers center Roy Hibbert (elbow) and guard C.J. Miles (foot) are questionable Thursday.

Indiana star forward Paul George is nearing a return from a broken leg.

"Honestly, we're not even thinking about Paul right now," Vogel recently told NBA.com. "How effective is he going to be having not played in a year? This is a serious injury. He still has a lot of hurdles to pass before he even gets back on the court. We're trying to become the best possible team we can be without him and if he gets back, that's just going to be a bonus."

Meanwhile, Milwaukee will play its next three games on the road against Indiana, Memphis and New Orleans, and has lost six straight away from home. It is 15-18 as the visitor this season.

The Bucks went 2-1 on a recent homestand and recorded a 97-91 victory over the Magic Wednesday night. Michael Carter-Williams scored 11 points and made two key free throws with 1:19 left, while Giannis Antetokounmpo threw down a dunk and Khris Middleton nailed two free throws to seal the triumph.

Carter-Williams also had nine rebounds and six assists for the Bucks, who bounced back from a 114-103 loss to the Pelicans on Monday. Middleton tallied 30 points and Ersan Ilyasova added 12 points and six rebounds.

"I think this was another step in the right direction," said Bucks coach Jason Kidd.

Milwaukee won for the third time in the last 10 games and is sixth in the East, two games behind Washington.

The Bucks and Pacers have split two games this season and the Central rivals will meet again March 26 at the Bradley Center. Indiana has won seven of the last eight matchups in this series.