Disappointing does not begin to describe what just happened a couple of minutes ago. With the game tied 95-95, the Indiana Pacers had a chance to win the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the buzzer, but a rushed wide-open shot from Roy Hibbert ended in an airball and gave the Bucks the ball with 0.5 seconds left on the clock.
From the inbounds play, the Bucks lobbed the ball and Jeff Foster (playing in his 700th game) merely tried to box out Andrew Bogut, who rose above Foster and tipped the ball into the hoop at the buzzer. Game, set, match. The Bucks win their sixth straight against the Pacers, 97-95, dropping Indiana Back to 10-10.
Remember this same Bucks team beat the Pacers without Bogut earlier in the season in Indiana, a game the Pacers probably should have won.
Well this one was really the opposite, as the Pacers were outhustled and sloppy from the outset, allowing the Bucks to race to a double digit lead through grabbing a zillion offensive rebounds. The Pacers were lucky to be down by only 8 points at the half.
The Pacers fought back and got to a lead in the second half through better defense and rebounding, but somehow they just couldn't get over the hump, always allowing the Bucks to come straight back. The Pacers had stacks of bad fouls and still allowed the Bucks to outhustle them for the ball at crucial possessions. Bogut played a huge role, blocking shot after shot whenever the Pacers got to the rim.
Danny Granger hit a couple of big ones to keep the Pacers in it down the stretch, but some poor passing and free throw shooting (22-31 for the game) let the team down once again. The Pacers and the Bucks always seem to engage in close games -- but the problem for the Pacers is that the Bucks' composure and execution always seem to come through in the end.
Granger had 26 points to lead the way. Hibbert had 13 but was only 3-7 from the line and got outplayed by Bogut (who had 17 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks). Collison had 17 points but only 1 assist.
This really was a must-win game for the Pacers and they blew it. I guess you could call this yet another learning experience for this young team, which must be sick of hearing how much better they are than their 0.500 record. With a rough part of the schedule coming up -- Bobcats (home), Hawks (away), Bulls (away), Lakers (home), Cavs (home), Celtics (away), Hornets (home), Grizzlies (home), Celtics (home) -- the Pacers need to finally prove that they are for real this season. No more excuses.