Post-Game Grades: Pacers Grind Out Another Victory over Hapless Bucks

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The Good - Ummm. You mean besides Evan Turner’s very first “Smothered chicken!!!!!!” greeting from Quinn Buckner? Not really a whole lot. Roy Hibbert played well in spots, and Lance Stephenson did a few Lance things. The best news just might be that Miami didn’t find a way to trade for Brandon Knight last week – for the second consecutive matchup against Indy’s vaunted defense, the former Wildcat hit tough shot after tough shot and, along with OJ Mayo, kept the game interesting for far longer than it should have been.

The Bad - The Milwaukee Freaking Bucks spanned the first and second halves with a 15-0 run against the team with the best record in basketball.

MVP - Roy Hibbert. The Double-Nickel had a huge night against a couple of guys named Zaza and Ersan en route to his fourteenth triple-double. Hopefully, the high-five he received from Lance Stephenson at the end of the game doesn’t wreck his jump hook for the next six weeks.

LVP - David West. As the first quarter wound to a close, West seemed to be having his way with the smallish Bucks’ Power Forwards. The Xavier alum looked to be well on his way to having his second mammoth night against the Deer. Amazingly, he only scored 3 points the rest of the way while largely struggling to even make an impact on the game.

X Factor - The Pacers’ defense. While the effort seemed to be lacking at times, Indiana showed why they have one of the best defenses in NBA history while keeping the Bucks scoreless for huge stretches of game action. Ignoring the second quarter (when the Bucks went nuts for 35 points as really bad shooters connected on 5 of 7 closely-guarded shots behind the arc) and final minute of the game (3 of 3 on desperation 3-pointers), the Bucks only scored 50 points in 35 minutes of game action, good for an outstanding defensive rating of 68.5.

Interesting Wrinkle – Typically, the Pacers have sat David West midway through first quarters, opting to allow Roy Hibbert to play the opening period out and then rest for the majority of the second. Tonight, they switched things up and sat the Big Fella early before bringing him back early in the second. It may have just been a quirk, or it may have been done in hopes of shoring up the bench defense. Either way, the second quarter was a trainwreck and West never seemed to recover from the adjustment.

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Reserves:

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Agree? Shout at Jon Washburn on twitter at @Twitch8p9s.

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