(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers will try to keep the perfect start going Friday night when they welcome Central Division rival, the Milwaukee Bucks, to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers are the NBA's only remaining unbeaten team. They are the first team in the league to start a season 8-0 since both the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans did it in the 2010-11 campaign. Interestingly enough, both the Lakers and Pelicans lost their ninth games that season.
Indiana reached 8-0 with a resounding 95-79 home victory over the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday. The Pacers held the Grizz to 41 percent shooting and six Indiana players scored in double figures.
Paul George, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, had 23 points and seven rebounds. Lance Stephenson recorded a triple-double with 13 points, 12 assists and 11 boards. He only committed one turnover.
The Pacers, who travel to Chicago for a critical game with the Bulls on Saturday night, held Danny Granger out of practice this week. The former All- Star was scheduled to resume practicing with the team after his calf injury, but head coach Frank Vogel elected to hold off on bringing Granger back until he's fully healed.
"He's coming off major knee surgery and then he's dealing with a calf strain. That's not something you want to push and have linger," Vogel said. "We understand that it's going to be a process until he's pain free. In the meantime, we're doing OK."
The Bucks are not.
Milwaukee dropped its third in a row on Wednesday, a 94-91 setback in Orlando to the Magic. Two of the Bucks three straight losses came on the road and Friday's game in Indianapolis is the last stop before two at home.
Against the Magic, the Bucks dressed eight players as injuries have taken a toll. Caron Butler, O.J. Mayo and Khris Middleton all played 42 minutes or more and were high scorers against Orlando.
The Magic outscored the Bucks, 71-55 the final three quarters.
"I was hoping we would be able to sustain, particularly in the second half," said Bucks head coach Larry Drew. "And we did wear down."
On the injury front, the Bucks are expected to be short-handed once again. Ersan Ilyasova (ankle), Larry Sanders (thumb) and Carlos Delfino (foot) are out. Luke Ridnour (back) is doubtful and Brandon Knight (hamstring), Gary Neal (foot) and Zaza Pachulia (foot) are listed as questionable.
The Bucks and Pacers split last season's four meetings with each team winning at home. Milwaukee has dropped four straight in Indianapolis.