George poured in a game-high 32 points after connecting on 5-of-7 shots from behind the arc, West tallied 30 points on 11-of-16 shooting and Stephenson flirted with a triple-double, contributing 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
“No question, they fought,” praised Indiana head coach Frank Vogel. “Give coach (Larry) Drew credit. He’s got these guys still playing hard despite their circumstances and they made a lot of big shots in the second half.
Indiana’s newest additions Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen, who were acquired in a trade from Philadelphia on Thursday, were unable to play because they had not passed a physical prior to the game. Both are expected to debut when the Pacers host the LA Lakers on Feb. 25.
Brandon Knight dropped 30 points with eight assists in Milwaukee’s sixth loss in its last seven games. Nine different Bucks netted at least six points, including all five reserves that took the court.
“I’m happy for our team because that’s in my opinion, a top two team in the NBA, and for us to not give in and lay down means a lot for our team,” said Knight.
Indiana led wire-to-wire in this one.
The Pacers quickly built on a 27-18 advantage after the first quarter, pushing the margin to 22 midway through the second after a C.J. Watson jumper. Knight brought the Bucks back, however, when he went on a personal 7-0 run and assisted on a Zaza Pachulia layup to cut it to 13 late in the frame. Indiana’s lead was 51-39 at the break.
Led by Khris Middleton, who had 10 of his 13 points in the quarter, the Bucks got within two points during the third and only trailed by seven heading into the final frame.
Stephenson and George took over the rest of the way. Stephenson made consecutive layups and a 3-ball to open the period, and George had a pair of triples late to seal it.
Notes: Indiana point guard George Hill played just under 31 minutes but finished with no points, no rebounds and one assist … All nine Pacers players that took the court had a positive net rating … The Bucks sent guards Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour to Charlotte in exchange for guard Ramon Sessions and forward Jeff Adrien on Thursday. Sessions scored seven points and Adrien had six with a game-high 11 rebounds in their debuts … Ersan Ilyasova netted 12 points for the Bucks … Milwaukee outrebounded Indiana, 52-40, and outscored the Pacers 18-1 in transition.