Dunleavy's 36 continues torrid output as Pacers rout Bucks

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The only things stopping Mike Dunleavy lately are his teammates and coaches.

Dunleavy tied his career high of 36 points for the second straight game, and the Indiana Pacers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 128-106 Sunday for their second consecutive victory.

He might have done more damage if teammate Danny Granger hadn't forearmed him in the lip, sending him to the bench briefly in the second quarter. It was just another nick in a season full of hard knocks for Dunleavy.

"It's been a tough year in that regard, taking some hits," he said. "It must be the soft Irish skin."

He could have set a new career high, but coach Jim O'Brien removed him from the game with 5:21 to play and the Pacers leading 120-94.

Dunleavy didn't mind playing just 34 minutes.

"At that point, I was pretty tired," he said. "I was looking forward to coming out."

It was Dunleavy's third 30-point game in his last six contests, and the third time he has scored 36 points this season. He had just tied the career high Friday at Toronto.

"I got a ceiling on myself," he joked. "I guess that's about where my talent level is. It can't get much better than that."

Dunleavy has averaged 27.5 points in the six games since Pacers president Larry Bird publicly criticized the team for a lack of leadership. Dunleavy never responded directly to Bird's comments, but said he feels he needs to help carry the scoring load with forward Jermaine O'Neal and point guard Jamaal Tinsley out of the lineup indefinitely with knee injuries.

"I feel pretty good when the ball comes off my hands," he said. "Things are going well, and with this offense and the way this team plays, if I hit a good percentage of my shots, it will result in good things and a lot of points."

Granger had 27 points and nine rebounds for Indiana. He returned to the starting lineup after being suspended a game for striking Chicago's Andres Nocioni in the face on Wednesday.

Travis Diener had 15 points and Jeff Foster had 16 rebounds for the Pacers, who set a scoring high for the season.

Michael Redd led Milwaukee with 28 points. Desmond Mason and Mo Williams each added 15 in the Bucks' third straight loss.

"We're not going to beat anybody, there's not a chance, if we give up 64 points in each half," Milwaukee coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "Sometimes, our offense is good enough to keep us in games, but without a more concerted effort on our part to guard people, it's going to be real tough to get a win."

Milwaukee forward Yi Jianlian left with a sprained left ankle with 10:44 to play and did not return. Krystkowiak didn't say when the Chinese rookie would return.

Pacers forward Shawne Williams was inactive for the second straight game. He left the team for personal reasons Wednesday when he learned acquaintance Gary Bohanon of Memphis, Tenn. was arrested for murder after leaving Williams' Indianapolis home driving a truck registered to Williams.

The Pacers led 53-47 late in the first half before closing with an 11-3 run, highlighted by back-to-back two-handed dunks by David Harrison, to take a 64-50 lead.

Dunleavy had 23 points at the break.

"Mike is a hell of a scorer," O'Brien said. "He gets on a roll, and we try running him off as many pick-and-rolls as we can. Whenever Mike or Danny score a lot of points, a lot of it has to do with our tempo. The last couple games, our tempo has been where it needed to be."

The Pacers took a 74-56 lead on a 3-pointer by Troy Murphy early in the third quarter before the Bucks went on an 8-0 run.

Indiana led 80-71 with just under six minutes left in the quarter when Murphy fouled Mason, then was called for a technical. Mason made all three free throws.

A dunk by Granger pushed Indiana's lead to 97-85 at the end of the third quarter. Redd scored 17 points in the quarter to give the Bucks a chance heading into the final period.

Indiana hit 100 points on a 3-pointer by Kareem Rush with about 11 minutes. The Pacers opened the quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 105-85 lead.

"We talked about trying to change things up at halftime, but Indiana just kept putting it in the hole," Redd said. "They really hurt us with their pick-and-rolls, and especially making us mix up our switches on handoffs. That created some real defensive problems for us."

Game notes
O'Neal has missed 19 straight games and Tinsley has missed 14 of the past 17. O'Brien said he has no timetable for the return of either player. ... Milwaukee committed lane violations twice on missed free throws by Murphy in the first quarter, and he converted his second chance both times. ... Indiana G Ronald "Flip" Murray made his debut with 7:54 to play. The Pacers picked him up on Saturday after Detroit waived him on Feb. 22.