INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel was worried about facing the Milwaukee Bucks in a matchup of the teams with the best and worst records in the NBA.
Turns out, he had reason for concern.
“If you’re a team without a great record, and you’ve got a chance to knock off one of the top dogs, that’s obviously a win that scores more points with you,” Vogel said before the Pacers’ 101-96 comeback victory Thursday night.
Roy Hibbert had 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Paul George and Lance Stephenson each scored 18 points for Indiana. The Pacers, 44-13 overall and an NBA-best 28-3 at home, blew a 17-point lead in the first half.
“They’re a real good team and I thought we did a pretty good job of keeping it close into the fourth quarter,” Bucks rookie guard Nate Wolters said. “But then just like the other night we let it slip away. It wasn’t real hard to get up for these guys tonight.”
Indiana’s George Hill took a nasty spill along the baseline late in the game. Vogel said the starting guard was day-to-day with a bruised left shoulder.
The Bucks, an NBA-worst 11-46, tied it at 50 at the half and built a six-point lead in the third quarter. Brandon Knight had 23 points for Milwaukee, Khris Middleton added 22, O.J. Mayo had 14, and Ramon Sessions 13. Ersan Ilysova had 11 rebounds and nine points.
“We’re still a team that’s pretty much trying to find something to hang our hat on,” Mayo said. “We’re a young team that is still learning and we just have to keep getting better every day. This was definitely a winnable game, but we made too many mistakes on the road against the best team in the Eastern Conference.”