Los Angeles Clippers vs. Indiana Pacers
7:00 PM EST
The easiest thing to do would be to simply cut and paste yesterday’s preview, and change the names to protect the innocent. However, it’s really hard to find any innocents. Yesterday, the Pacers were trying to snap a three-game losing streak. Today, it’s a four-game skein they’re trying to halt.
Over the last two losses, the Pacers have added all around horrible defense to the litany of offense woes I detailed yesterday. They’ve been particularly badly exploited in pick and rolls, but the failures have not been limited to that. Rather than launch into a lengthy attempt to rationalize an increasingly irrational situation, I think I’ll just give you some things to look for tonight, and start preparing for Thanksgiving.
- In the second half last night, Danny returned to his All Star form by scoring 22 points and helping the Pacers to cut 16 points off of a 21-point halftime deficit. The effort fell short, but the important question is, “Can he do it again?” He was only 3/12 in the first half, and he’s shot under 40% in 7 of the 12 games this season.
- Roy Hibbert is expected to return to the line up after seeing only short minutes in the Toronto game. Matchups were the cause of his limit last night, but that shouldn’t be an issue against the Clippers. L.A. starts the 7’0″ Chris Kaman and the 6’11″ Marcus Camby on their front line, and bring the 7’0″ DeAndre Jordan off the bench. O’Brien has been non-committal, though, and it may be a game time decision.
- Hoosier native Eric Gordon is questionable for tonight’s game with a strained groin that has cause him to miss eight of his team’s 15 games. He was averaging almost 19 points per night on over 50% shooting before going down. Rasual Butler has taken his place in the starting lineup.
- Baron Davis has stayed healthy this year, but he’s still exhibiting that questionable shot selection, shooting a paltry 38% from the floor and 29% from beyond the arc.
- Surprisingly, the Clippers are led in scoring by Captain Caveman (Chris Kaman). His 20.5 points a contest nearly doubles his career scoring average, and is almost five points higher than his previous best of 15.7.
- It won’t be a Dunleavy family holiday tonight, as Junior has elected to sit out a few more games in order to get into better game shape. He’s currently expected to return sometime during next week’s West Coast road trip.
- Buckaroo Banzai (Hansbrough) played only 15 minutes last night, despite being cleared to play 22 by the medical staff. He was pretty effective in his time, so it was a bit of a head scratcher as to why he didn’t play more. O’Brien later explained that the 22 minutes includes practice time, as well, and some of that had been used up earlier in the day.
- Tonight is the first a home-and-home series with the Clippers. They’ll be done with them early this year, as they visit the Staples Center on December 5th.
- Friday night, the Pacers host Rick Carlisle’s Dallas Mavericks before leaving for a four-game West Coast road trip. This may be the most forgiving West Coast swing I’ve ever seen, as the Pacers will face three losing teams (Sacramento, Golden State, and the Clippers) and the Utah Jazz, who sit at .500. Normally, this would be cause for some optimism, but the Pacers are not playing at a level necessary to beat anyone on any floor right now. Here’s hoping this two-game homestand will change that.
Most importantly, I hope that this holiday weekend finds you and yours safe, happy, and warm.