The Indiana Pacers are recently coming off a huge game, whipping the Denver Nuggets towards a 144-113 win, including 54 points in the third quarter and going 20-of-21 overall in the quarter. Mike Dunleavy was the star of the game, having 31 points, as 24 came in the third. Danny Granger got the resting game he deeply needed, only needing to play about 30 minutes, as he put up 19 points in the match-up.
According to several sources, Danny Granger will be having his minutes reduced to 35 per game. Granger said he is fine with that. He was lately playing 38-to-39 a game. He is happy with that, as he could get a rest and as the second team steps up.
The Pacers played amazing defense, and held the team’s leading scorer in Carmelo Anthony to only 13 points. Ironically, the Nuggets and Anthony would step up to a much better team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and give them their first loss of the season with a 118-112 victory. Wow.
But now the Pacers need to focus towards their next opponent, the Houston Rockets. They will have a tough task for them, as they face three solid players like Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin, and Yao Ming. I see a good match-up in hand, though. ESPN AccuScore picks the Pacers having a 72-percent chance of winning this game compared to Houston’s 28.
However, the Rockets have a big hole, as Yao Ming will not be playing. He was expected to play more than 24 minutes against Indy, as Roy Hibbert is hard to stop. However, the Rockets have at least one rebounding machine to help them in Luis Scola, but he can’t be the one-man show. Hence, the Pacers look to win and improve to 4-3 as the struggling Rockets fall to 1-7, which is rather coming to a huge disappointment.
Indiana is also at home. They have only had one loss at home and have been dominating. At home, they just seem to get on a roll and they plan to roll along tonight. I hope to get some good coverage on the game on my NBA blog at hardcourtmayhem.com if anyone’s interested. The Rockets have lost four straight games to the Pacers and are going to be deeply depended on Scola and Martin. But the Pacers can stop them from getting anything going as guys like Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert will be guarding them.
Darren Collison is going to have an easy match-up versus Ishmeal Smith as Brooks will be unavailable. Collison is averaging 16.7 points per game. Dunleavy, who is a good defender, will be manning up on Martin. Granger hopes to get some shots in, as Shane Battier is a good defender and may be able to tame him. But I expect Granger to squeak past. Scola may have a good rebounding performance as he will face Josh McRoberts and Tyler Hansbrough. But McRoberts and Hansbrough are coming off solid performances, so there may not be need for Hibbert to come in and guard him. Brad Miller will start at center. Looks like that is the guy Trey Kerby is going to be cheering for!
Expect a good game Pacers fans! Enjoy!