(MILWAUKEE, Wisc.) — Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel benched his usual starters for the entire game against Milwaukee on Wednesday. The reserves delivered with a 104-102 win over the Bucks that helped put Indiana back atop the Eastern Conference.
The contest featured 23 lead changes, none more important than the final one. Chris Copeland scored a driving layup with 1.2 seconds remaining in regulation that gave the Pacers (54-25) the victory.
“It was a big win for our confidence, the second unit,” Copeland, who finished the game with a season-high 18 points, said after the win. “A lot of us have been waiting for that all year. So it was very cool for us to get out there and get a win and show the starters that we’ve got their backs when they need rest.”
Vogel made the decision to sit his first-team for the full 48 minutes after he felt the team looked tired in a 107-88 home loss to Atlanta on Sunday. Copeland and the rest of the second team built up a nine point lead late in the fourth before holding off a late Milwaukee (14-64) rally.
All five Bucks starters scored in double figures with Brandon Knight pouring in a game high 25 points. Evan Turner led all Pacers players with 23 points as Indiana took a half-game lead over Miami after the Heat lost to Memphis.
The two teams will play each other on Friday night in South Florida.
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Jill Martin, CNN