Tuesday , Mar , 30 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Pacers try to clinch top spot in East

Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) – Central Division rivals square off in
the first of a home-and-home set tonight, as the Milwaukee Bucks welcome the
Indiana Pacers to the Bradley Center. The teams will play again on Wednesday
at Conseco Fieldhouse.

The Pacers will clinch home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference
playoffs with their next victory or a loss by the Detroit Pistons. Indiana is
in first place in the Central, 7 1/2 games ahead of the Pistons. The Bucks are
in fifth place in the East, one game behind New Orleans and a 1/2-game ahead
of sixth-place Miami.

This is the third meeting of the season between the two squads. Milwaukee has
won the previous two contests, winning once at Indiana and once in front of
its home crowd.

Indiana comes into tonight’s game on a four-game winning streak. On Sunday,
Jermaine O’Neal, who had miss the previous two games with a knee injury,
returned to the lineup and poured in 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead
the Pacers to an 87-80 win over Miami at Conseco Fieldhouse. Ron Artest
finished with 18 points and 12 boards in the win.

The Pacers are 11-3 in Tuesday games this season. Indiana is an impressive
25-12 on the road.

Milwaukee lost in overtime to the Houston Rockets, 111-107, on Sunday at the
Bradley Center. Michael Redd poured in 36 points and hauled down 14 rebounds
for the Bucks, who fell for the 10th time in 13 games.

Redd has scored 20 or more points in four straight games. He has averaged 26.5
points and seven rebounds in that span.

The Bucks are 24-12 as the host this season.

The Bucks have won three straight over the Pacers, who have lost two in a row
and six of their last seven at Milwaukee.