Indiana (20-12, won last three) @ Charlotte (4-27, lost last one)
* 86.45 points per game (30th in the NBA) vs. 100.77 points allowed per game (28th)
* 41.7% FG (29th) vs. 47% FG allowed(28th)
* 39.9 rpg (26th) vs. 45.1 rebounds allowed (28th)
*19.29 apg (22nd) vs. 14.9 TO pg (12th)
* 95.31 ppg (13th) vs. 92.69 points allowed (9th)
* 43% FG (22nd) vs. 43.2% FG allowed (8th)
* 43.66 rppg (4th) vs. 42.19 rebounds allowed (18th)
* 17.72 appg (28th) vs. 14.97 TO pg (13th)
PG-Darren Collison vs. D.J. Augustin
SG-Paul George vs. Reggie Williams
SF-Danny Granger vs. Corey Maggette
PF-David West vs. Boris Diaw
C-Roy Hibbert vs. Bismack Biyombo
Charlotte-Kemba Walker, Derrick Brown, D.J. White, Desagana Diop
Indiana-Tyler Hansbrough, A.J. Price, Dahntay Jones, George Hill
Injuries of note
Charlotte-Gerald Henderson (hamstring, out)
Indiana-Jeff Foster (back, day to day), George Hill (ankle, game time decision)
- As we all remember, the last time these two teams played (three days ago) was an unmitigated disaster for the Bobcats. Since then, however, they’ve rested while the Pacers have finished up an emotional homestand in dramatic fashion via an overtime win last night vs. New Orleans. Still, when a team like Indiana, obviously not one of the league’s elite (yet) drops 35 in a quarter, and beats you by 35, your team’s problems extend beyond just “needing some rest.” The Bobcats are very clearly the worst team in the NBA. All of the team’s four wins have been gifts from God (so to speak). They beat Milwaukee at home by one, then beat the pre-Lin Knicks (when they were arguably the league’s worst team), followed that up with an improbable road win vs. GSW at the end of a back-to-back-to-back. Their last victory broke a 16-game losing skid vs. a horrible and injury-ravaged Raptors team that somehow managed to cough up that particular loss in the midst of an unprecedented six-game home stand (seriously, NBA schedulers?). So the ‘Cats are bad on paper, they’re worse in person, and have no signature wins. Nothing even close.
- All that said, the Pacers are primed to get trapped. Last night’s win was an emotional one. Indiana looked like a wounded puppy through most of the game last night, but finally showed some cornered pit bull in overtime, as they raced out to a 113-102 lead following a big three pointer from Danny Granger to open the OT, and some nifty maneuvers by Darren Collison and Paul George. But the starters logged heavy minutes, playing their standard 8-10 fourth quarter minutes, and all of the overtime. With no rest time between games, the commute to Charlotte won’t be long enough for tired muscles to heal. The bench will have to step up.
- Luckily, George Hill is expected back tonight, which should take some of the scoring burden off of some of the lesser-known Pacers bench commodities (namely Lance Stephenson and A.J. Price) who have had to fill in for him over the past few weeks. While Indiana’s backup point guard play has been admirable, Hill is a steadier hand, and better defender, than almost anyone else available, and if he can go 20+ minutes tonight (provided he returns to action) it will go a long way to dispatching the Bobcats for the second time in four nights.
Prediction: Pacers 96, Charlotte 88
After allowing the Hornets to shoot at a blistering 70+% in the first quarter last night, it’s hard to believe the Pacers can keep even the league’s worst team under 40%, as they did in the last meeting. But last night this Indiana team proved it has some mental toughness, which should carry over to a road victory to end the first half of the regular season.
Charlotte’s as hit or miss as Indiana, fantasy-wise. At this point in the week, you’re probably playing anyone you can, as many teams are starting to take off for the All-Star Break.
Lucas Klipsch just wrote this game preview like a boss. Follow him @LukeNukem317