The Pacers will rely on their youth to carry them to their first playoff berth since the 2005-06 season.
The Pacers, winners of three straight games, lack experience when it comes to the playoffs. Forward Danny Granger is the only starter to have appeared in the playoffs. He played in six games, including three starts, in 2006. Veteran center Jeff Foster brings that number to 54 games out of their rotation players because he's appeared in 48 games in his career.
"Since I took over, I've had the mind-set we're going to build around our young guys, we're rolling with them," interim coach Frank Vogel said. "I feel like they're talented enough that they give us the best chance to win every night.
"I'm not just playing the young guys and sacrificing trying to win. I believe in these young guys. Staying with (them) during the playoff stretch and into the playoffs is what I intend to do."
The Pacers have a two-game lead on the Charlotte Bobcats with five games remaining for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"There are high stakes on every game," Vogel said. "It sharpens your preparation. The more prepared you are, the more you study the opponent, the more you study your game plan, the sharper you are with all that. Every game is as big as the next."
PACERS 89, BUCKS 88: Bucks F Drew Gooden missed a desperation three-pointer as time expired to give the Pacers their third straight victory. The Pacers needed that last defensive stand after G Brandon Rush threw a bad pass moments earlier that could have cost the Pacers an opportunity to put a better grip on the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. F Danny Granger led the Pacers with 27 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
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