Pump Up Music: Soul Coughing -- "Circles"
The Big Picture: The Indiana Pacers season this year is encapsulated in two different stories. First, there was the T.J. Ford trade deadline fiasco, in which it appeared the Pacers were going to deal him to the Bobcats, but the deal was scuttled at the last minute. But it became an especially awkward situation when it was revealed Ford was literally dancing outside the team plane at the prospect of getting traded. Too bad he's out with a groin injury now.
For his part, Mike Dunleavy is questionable for tonight's game. That's not too unusual, given the bevy of injuries he's had to deal with the past year, but what is unusual is why he might be out for this particular game. It seems that during warm ups on Sunday, someone's shot came up short, hit the rim at just the right angle, and smashed Dunleavy in the eye.
In the end, this is another team the Cats should outclass on talent alone, but the Pacers do have Danny Granger and Troy Murphy, who can each catch fire and make life miserable for the opposition. Of course, Indiana is also in the bottom half of the league at defending at-rim shots, while the Cats are second in the league in at-rim attempts per game (Indy's mediocre to bad at defending all types of shots, actually).
Key to Victory: Stephen Jackson must ignore the boos (he will) and lock down on Granger. Once that's accomplished, everything else falls into place, because no one else on the team is going to create his own shot, and when Earl Watson and A.J. Price are sharing the point guard load, everyone's got to create their own shots.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: Josh McRoberts (yes, really, that's him) has started 2 games for the Pacers this year.