The Pacers (41-13) are almost as good as the Bucks are bad (10-44).
Both teams were active at the trade deadline. Since then, the shorthanded Bucks fell to the Nuggets. Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien will be available for the Bucks tonight since being traded for guards Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour. How Drew works Sessions into the backcourt with Wolters, Mayo and Knight—who hopes to return tonight—will be worth watching. Hopefully Wolters’ minutes won’t suffer because of the trade.
The Pacers’ deadline activity was of more importance than the Bucks salary dumb. Tonight will be their first game since acquiring Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen for Danny Granger. It remains to be seen what advantages the Pacers sees in Turner over Granger, but we could very well find out tonight against the floundering Bucks.
The Bucks would welcome Brandon Knight back with open arms. He’s averaging nearly 17/5 (both a career high), offensive production they missed in a poor offensive night against the Nuggets. Even with the highest usage rate in his career, Knight’s TOV% is at a career low 14.5 and his PER is at a career high 16.1.
The Pacers will counter with Lance Stephenson, who is having a career season of his own. Stephenson made a significant leap in ppg (14.0) and assists (5.1) compared to the rest of his career. A free agent this summer, Stephenson will garner significant attention. Some believe the trade for Turner to be a backup plan at SG if the are unable to retain Stephenson.
The Bucks chances ride heavily on their ability to keep the Pacers off the glass. The Bucks have dealt with injuries to their frontcourt all season, and as a result rank 25th in rebounds per game compared to the Pacers 4th.
PG – Nate Wolters
SG – Khris Middleton
SF – Caron Butler
PF – Ersan Ilyasova
C – Zaza Pachulia
PG – George Hill
SG – Lance Stephenson
SF – Paul George
PF – David West
C – Roy Hibbert
Per Game Leaders
Points: Knight (16.7), George (22.5)
Assists: Knight (5.0), Stephenson (5.1)
Rebounds: Henson (8.0), Hibbert (7.6)
Blocks: Henson (2.14), Hibbert (2.56)