All five starters to rest vs Milwaukee
Frank Vogel and the Pacers are sticking to their plan.
All five starters — George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert — didn’t go through shootaround and will sit tonight in Milwaukee, against a lowly Bucks team that has lost five straight games and 13 of their last 14.
“The starters are not going to play tonight, all five of them,” Vogel said after shootaround. “We’re going to rest them and try to heal up some various bumps and bruises involved with all five guys.
“We’re not playing well as a basketball team right now and the starters aren’t playing well. Our bench is not playing well. We want to try to get the starters on track by getting their legs back under them and getting them healed up.”
Why all five?
“If you sit one or two guys for the game, nobody ever finds a rhythm,” Vogel said.
Indiana will use just its fourth different starting lineup of the season tonight: Donald Sloan, Evan Turner, Rasual Butler, Luis Scola and Ian Mahinmi.
George, West and Hibbert have played in all 78 games this season. Hill and Stephenson have missed five and two games, respectively.
“It’s a great decision, great decision for both our second unit as well as our starters to rest … [and] for our bench guys to get some rhythm as well,” said Paul George. “It’s great for us moving forward.
“We all went through a rough stretch of the season. I think it’s common for guys to be fatigued, a little tired at this point, but I think this is a great call from coach.”
The Pacers are just a half-game back on the Miami Heat for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but Vogel says improving their own play is their top priority.
“We still have our sights on the No. 1 seed but the most important thing for our team is fixing our team,” he said.
George and West were two of the players that went to Vogel requesting rest earlier this week.
“It’s really important,” West said Sunday on the value of rest. “Obviously we’ve been fairly healthy most of the year, which has been key for us. From that standpoint, I think for us it’s just about playing better basketball. We hadn’t put together solid enough games before this point to be the all out 1-seed.”
The starters will practice on Thursday after three days off and will all play in Miami on Friday. Some bench guys may be held out in that one.