Bucks face premature end to playoff run
Posted: Thursday May 13, 1999 12:32 AM
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Despite trailing 0-2 in a best-of-5 series, Milwaukee Bucks coach George Karl is concentrating on the positives.
The latest negative turned into a positive was Tuesday night's 108-107 overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers.
"Even though we lost, I thought we gained some ground with our confidence. We respect them, we don't fear them, and we know we're going to have to play a good basketball game to beat them," Karl said after the Bucks practiced Wednesday.
"We're tired of losing to them, too," Karl added.
The Pacers are just one game away from winning the first-round series heading into Thursday night's game in Milwaukee. A Bucks victory would force Game 4 in Milwaukee on Saturday.
"There's nothing different than any other game," he said. "Every game is one game. We've got a game tomorrow and it's one game. And when we win it tomorrow, there will be one, too. It's a simple process."
The Bucks' nail-biting loss Tuesday night was a big improvement over their 110-88 loss Sunday in Game 1.
The Pacers' Reggie Miller scored 30 points, but was 9-for-25 from the field. So far in the series, Miller is 13-of-40 overall and 5-of-23 on 3-pointers.
"That's what playoff basketball is all about," Miller said after Tuesday night's game. "The intensity, the pressure, the big plays. And when you think a team is out of it, they come right back in it. Milwaukee really showed a lot of heart and guts."
The Bucks can expect the Pacers to play even harder Thursday, Indiana coach Larry Bird said.
"I think we'll play better," Bird said. "We've got our hands full. They're going to shoot the ball better as the series goes on, and their young guys are going to keep gaining confidence. Hopefully, we'll go in there with the attitude to win the game and move on."
The lead changed hands nine times Tuesday night as Milwaukee rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit and a six-point deficit in the final 36 seconds of regulation.
"They've done a tremendous job of keeping the ball out of the post," said Rik Smits of the Pacers, who has been limited to 14 points in two games. "A lot of the time, they front me, then double-team when the ball gets in there. I try to take what I can get."
But the strong defense and Ray Allen's 25 points were not enough to give the Bucks a win.
"I think we all hung heads," Allen said. "We talked about it today, about feeling the pain and agony of defeat. It's something that you have inside your heart that you never want.
"But when we go through those bad times, it makes us a great team."
After playing two games in the deafening Market Square Arena, the Bucks are looking forward to playing on their home court.
"The series isn't over," said Bucks forward Glenn Robinson. "They won at home, now they have to come to our home. I have plans to go back to Indiana."
The Bucks are making their first playoff appearance since 1991. Their last playoff victory was in 1990, during a first-round series with Chicago.
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