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News » PACERS 107, BUCKS 99 After starters fail to crank, depleted squad run over by Ford

PACERS 107, BUCKS 99 After starters fail to crank, depleted squad run over by Ford

PACERS 107, BUCKS 99  After starters fail to crank, depleted squad run over by Ford
Indianapolis - Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles had all five of his starters on the bench 5 minutes into their 107-99 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night at Conseco Field House.

After the game, starting forward Richard Jefferson questioned Skiles' decision-making process.

"I'm surprised we lasted that long," he said,

Agreeing that the Bucks had stunk up the joint early on, Jefferson said, "We're just not doing a very good job of starting games. That's me. I've started every game this year. I'm part of the problem right now so . . .

"We just did a terrible job of coming out to start. We played hard, but we can't play hard for 40 minutes or 36 minutes because those minutes that you don't are the ones that kill you."

The Bucks were behind, 16-6, just 4 minutes into the game and at that point, Skiles had gone to his bench, and point guard Luke Ridnour was the only starter left on the court. But after Indiana's Mike Dunleavy sank a three-pointer to give the Pacers a 19-6 lead, Ridnour, too, got the hook. The Pacers later led by 20 and were in front after one quarter, 38-22.

The Bucks trailed by 12 at halftime and did show a pulse in the second half. They had the lead down to 94-91 with 5 minutes 7 seconds left but could never get over the hump.

Their first-quarter doldrums proved too much to overcome.

"We dug ourselves a big hole," said starting forward Charlie Villanueva, who led the Bucks with 28 points but was another victim of Skiles' early hook. "It's just unacceptable. It seemed like we didn't have a focus at the start of the game and they capitalized on that. We fought back and tried but didn't get the stops we needed coming down the stretch.

"The last five minutes of the game, we couldn't get a stop."

Villanueva said the poor start resulted from a variety of factors.

"It's missing shots," he said. "Not boxing out, not doing the little things, and just getting down on ourselves."

The Pacers, who got to the rim with ease throughout the game, shot 57.1% in the first quarter and 51.9% for the game.

They got to the foul line 14 times in the first quarter, making 11, and feasted on six Bucks first-quarter turnovers.

Indiana was led by speedy point guard T.J. Ford, who was far too quick for the Bucks and tied his career high by scoring 34 points on 14-of-21 shooting. Four other Pacers scored in double figures, and Troy Murphy's 13 rebounds helped Indiana to a 42-31advantage.

Skiles was curious about one thing afterward.

"What we've got to figure out is how can we not be ready for this type of game?" he said. "How can guys in the starting lineup come out so flat? It's happening too much lately.

"They had 16 points in four minutes. We were just, literally, walking in mud. I'm not trying to be down on my guys, but when that happens I've got to take some action. I've got to do something. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. At least we played harder in the second half."

The starting forwards agreed that Skiles got their attention in the first quarter.

"Absolutely," said Villanueva. "We get the opportunity to start the game and we just can't come out like that. We can't come out flat. Coach pulled us out and guys tried to pick it up, but it wasn't enough."

Said Jefferson, "It has an impact. You know what's going on when you look and see the score is 19-6 in 4 minutes. You know you're not doing your job or things aren't going the way they're supposed to. You understand that, so it's not unreasonable (to be taken out)."

Charles F. Gardner answers your questions in a chat at 7 tonight. Post them now at

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 29, 2009


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