INDIANAPOLIS — It was a good night for fans who paid to hear whistles blow, but it was an even better conclusion for those wanting a Pacers victory.
After 60 foul calls, including inadvertent shots to the face from both teams, the Pacers were able to top the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime on Thursday, 109-103.
Indiana’s reserves once again did a bulk of the work. The 3-man bench of Rodney Stuckey, Luis Scola and C.J. Watson combined to score 52 points. Stuckey continued his impressive streak of offensive outputs, leading the team with 25 points and six assists. Scola was active on the glass, pulling in 15 rebounds on his way to 17 points.
The Bucks, who the Pacers are currently looking up at in the Eastern Conference standings and who were on the second night of a back-to-back, got off to an energized start, exiting the first quarter with 31-19 lead. The early deficit had as much to do with the Pacers themselves as it did the Bucks. Indiana turned the ball over eight times in the opening period that led to 13 Milwaukee points. Frank Vogel said the team made a concerted effort to limit the giveaways in the second half.
Michael Carter-Williams was strong for the Bucks. The 6-foot-5 point guard acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers last month led all scorers with 28 points. He took 15 trips to the free-throw line after getting into the teeth of a Pacers defense who were without Roy Hibbert due to an elbow injury.
Ian Mahinmi stepped into the starting lineup. Mahinmi scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 29 minutes. He fouled in the overtime period after a questionable flagrant foul call that had to be reviewed by the officials.
After limiting the turnovers and finding their groove on offense, the Pacers took control of the game before the offense bogged down once again in the fourth, allowing the Bucks to get back in it. Indiana scored just 14 points in the final period.
George Hill, who scored 17 points on 16 shots, had to leave the game momentarily after landing hard on his right shoulder. Hill’s exit clearly hurt the Pacers offense in that span. However, Hill was able to re-enter and the Pacers scored almost as many points as they did in the fourth (14) in the overtime period (13). There the Pacers turned to the Hill-David West tw0-man game that has been a go-to for them down the stretch in games without Paul George. West sank a couple of his patented mid-range jumpers on his way to nine points.
“That’s his bread and butter,” Bucks head coach Jason Kidd said of West afterwards. “He knows how to play the game.”
Indiana’s defense continued its great run of play, keeping Milwaukee to under 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from the behind the arc (4-of-14). They’ve now held seven consecutive opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field, the longest streak in franchise history.