According to Mike Wells, reserve big man Solomon Jones will likely miss the game tonight with an elbow injury. That means Jeff Foster will need to play in relief of Roy Hibbert. Neither Foster nor Tyler Hansbrough saw the floor against San Antonio in the opener, so it will be interesting to see how much they play tonight. Of course, Hansbrough should be well received in Charlotte for all of the great memories he gave the folks wearing Carolina blue.
Maybe one or both of those guys can shake up the bench to improve on the lackluster effort from the second unit in the second half of the opening loss. As you'll see in Wells' story linked below, Jim O'Brien feels Hansbrough is behind offensively which is keeping him out of the rotation. This almost assures us of seeing Hansbrough tonight since JOB often makes strong declarations about a player or strategy only to go in the opposite direction soon there after.
This is the type of game the Pacers have struggled with over the past couple of years. After playing well but coming up short against a strong opponent, they have often come out flat against a more comparable team the could outplay for a win.
So forget wins and losses for a second. My initial expectation is to see the team play well, especially the starters who put up a solid effort in San Antonio save for all of the turnovers and defensive breakdowns. If they can play well and bring a similar intensity and effort, then simply tightening up the execution should be enough to win.
Of course, Charlotte is no doubt feeling the same way after losing big at Dallas in their season opener. While the Pacers should have an advantage at point guard (Darren Collison vs. D.J. Augustin) and in the post (Roy Hibbert vs. Nazr Mohammed), I'm sure Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace and Tim Thomas are licking their chops to get the ball in their hands against the Pacers.
Knowing this, Danny Granger should be licking his chops as well considering the opportunity to take these guys on and win his matchup. Also, recalling how Jack objected to Hansbrough's rough style of play last year, maybe JOB should utilize Hansbrough in a needler role, if nothing else.
But again, if the Pacers play will and cut down on the unforced errors, the win will take care of itself. After the jump, a few links of interest while we wait for the tip tonight.
Pacers coach keeps Tyler Hansbrough sitting on bench | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star
Mike Wells reports on Hansbrough trying to work his way into the playing rotation, Solo Jones out tonight and good ratings for the opener.
Slow go for Hansbrough - CharlotteObserver.com
Ron Green Jr. reports on Tyler Hansbrough's struggles to get his NBA career going.
No extension for Green, Stuckey; Horford in talks - CBSSports.com
It appears there will be more free agents available next summer than expected.
Chris Bosh: 'It's all about being on TV'
Thought this was a joke at first, but it does help explain why Bosh's soft act on the court has always bugged me. At least he makes funny youtube videos.