The recent Pacers’ losing skid has been a real head-scratcher for Pacers’ fans and coach Frank Vogel
The Milwaukee Bucks (14-63) have dropped five straight contests and are toiling in cellar of the NBA. The Indiana Pacers (53-25) have lost five or their last six and sit just a half game out of first in the East. This is what happens when one team spent the majority of the year being really good and the other team spent the majority of the time being really good at… well, losing. A little five or six game stretch of terrible basketball doesn’t negate all the quality ball a team put in earlier. Unless of course, this stretch of bad basketball happens in the playoffs, a potential happening that the Pacers’ are trying to avoid at all costs.
The Pacers are letting it be no secret that their main priority is to get the team back to playing at an elite level. Beating out the Miami Heat for the top seed in the East would just be a bonus. Coach Frank Vogel let it be known that his starters will get rest days over the remaining four games on the Pacers’ schedule. Tonight will be an extreme take on what he said.
All five Pacers starters will sit tonight in Milwaukee.
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) April 9, 2014
In a move that Indiana sports fans should be particularly familiar with *cough*IndianapolisColts*cough*, Vogel is choosing to rest all five of his starters against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. A game that Bucks fan’s have marked with a big fat “L” for months now has suddenly become much more interesting.
The Pacers’ typical starting line up of George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, David West, and Roy Hibbert has averaged an impressive 71 points per game this year. The line up that they will reportedly be starting tonight of Donald Sloan, Rasual Butler, Evan Turner, Luis Scola, and Ian Mahinmi averages only 21.7 points per game. Minutes allocated plays a major role in that statistical comparison, but multiple guys are going to have step up if the Pacers want to beat the hometown Bucks in this one.
SF – Khris Middleton vs. Evan Turner
The one guy left in the Pacers line up whose proven himself to be a capable scorer in the NBA is Evan Turner. He will most certainly be looking to be the guy tonight and he’ll be given free reign over his shot selection. The Bucks will counter with their usual starting small forward Khris Middleton. After a brief rough patch, Middleton seems to have regained his shooting touch as he put 20 points on only 9 shots in Saturday’s loss to Toronto. His defense has also been solid all season, particularly against less physical, jump-shot prone small forwards like Indiana’s Evan Turner. Who wins this match up could go a long way in deciding the outcome of this game.
Projected Starting Line Ups
PG – Donald Sloan
SG – Rasual Butler
SF -Evan Turner
PF – Luis Scola
C – Ian Mahinmi
PG – Brandon Knight
SG – Ramon Sessions
SF – Khris Middleton
PF – Jeff Adrien
C – Zaza Pachulia
The Ping-Pong Picture
Both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers have five games remaining in the season. Due to a rare win by the Sixers over the Celtics on April 4th, the Bucks have a three game “lead” over the Sixers in the race for the most lottery balls. The magic number for the Bucks is currently at three. Philadelphia would need to lose out and have the Bucks win three of their last five games to tie for the worst record.