The Indiana Pacers looked at their recent struggles and decided that resting their starters will fix everything, deciding that a game against the Milwaukee Bucks is the perfect opportunity to test the theory. Evan Turner and Luis Scola carried the offense throughout, and Chris Copeland scored a game winning shot to come through 104-102.
If it wasn’t the Bucks, I’m pretty sure Vogel wouldn’t have tried putting all of his starters on the bench, not using them for a single second. Every win and loss counts with the Pacers back in the top spot of the Eastern conference due to the Heat losing two consecutive games.
So against a Bucks team trying harder to lose than the Pacers are to win, saying that figuring out how to play well is much more important than taking care of home court advantage (a blatant lie), putting Turner and Scola in a role they’re used to – that of a starting player, was enough to give Indiana the edge.
The Bucks put up a fight and some nice numbers, but despite the 25 points from Brandon Knight and 20 from Ramon Sessions, there simply wasn’t a doubt that the Pacers would come through in the end. When one team doesn’t really want to win and the other is simply dying to come up with the W, even Copeland hitting the game winner on a 18-point night from him didn’t come as too much of a surprise.
Scola remembered his Houston days when he was one of the tougher forwards to guard in the league and scored 24 points, a season high for the Argentine, who hasn’t scored more than 19 points all season long. Evan Turner, who put up impressive numbers this season before getting traded over to Indiana by the 76ers, had 23 points with 7 rebounds and 9 assists, by far his best game in Pacers uniform.
Copeland did a great job off the bench with 18 points, and maybe the best thing that comes out of this is Frank Vogel getting some ideas on how to start using his bench players better, instead of just hoping they provide rest for Paul George and nothing more. In truth, it’s unlikely he’ll take a big chance on guys like Donald Sloan and Solomon Hill, but he isn’t going to win the championship or even win the Eastern conference with an exhausted starting lineup that has no serious backup.