Pacers visit Bucks in Central clash

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( - The Milwaukee Bucks will try to win three straight games for a third time this season Friday, when they welcome the Central-rival Indiana Pacers to the Bradley Center.

The Bucks posted three straight wins twice in November from the 16-19 and 25-28. They have won two in a row and three of the last four games, including Wednesday's 96-80 road win over the LeBron James-less Cleveland Cavaliers. Kevin Love did not play either.

Brandon Knight scored 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting and he buried 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. O.J. Mayo scored 15 points off the bench and Giannis Antetokounmpo netted 14 for the Bucks, who led 31-18 after the first quarter and limited the Cavs to only seven points in the third (19-7).

"I thought we got off to a good start on the road, then they came back a little bit in the second," said Bucks coach Jason Kidd. "We came out after halftime getting stops and that was big."

Milwaukee hit 7-of-9 3-pointers in the first quarter and committed a season- low 10 turnovers. It is 10-0 this season when holding teams under 90 points.

Bucks guard Jerryd Bayless (knee), forward Ersan Ilyasova (concussion) and center Larry Sanders (flu) are questionable versus the Pacers.

The Bucks are 7-6 at the Bradley Center this season.

Indiana will play the next four games on the road against the Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors, and is 5-12 away from home.

The Pacers recorded a 106-95 triumph over the Miami Heat on New Year's Eve, as reserve C.J. Miles made five 3-pointers en route to 25 points and George Hill added a season-best 20 points in a winning effort. Roy Hibbert contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana, which had a 64-44 scoring advantage in the second half.

A 24-4 run bridging the third and fourth quarters extinguished the Heat.

"We weren't in a great rhythm in the first half," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Once we made some plays in the third quarter, the crowd got behind us and it changed."

C.J. Watson scored 11 points off Indiana's bench, which has scored 40 or more points in each of the last six games and 12 times in the past 14.

Indiana has won four of its last six games and has held its last three opponents under 100 points. It is first in opponents' scoring at 96.3 ppg.

The Pacers lost to the Bucks, 87-81, on Nov. 4 and Knight led all scorers with 23 points in that one. Milwaukee snapped a six-game slide in the series with that victory. The Pacers have won two straight and five of the last seven trips to Brew City.

Indiana and Milwaukee will meet again on March 12 and March 26.