IC Cold Links: Pacers look to turn things around out west, and hope for a spark from the return of Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert is back with the team, as he stayed behind in San Fransisco due to illness.  Hibbert is still questionable for tonight's game, but it would be nice to have the Pacers' starting five on the court tonight.  Despite Hibbert's struggles lately, having the starting five consistently on the court together is always a positive thing.

The Portland Trail Blazers are without a couple of their big men, but they are not in quite the situation as someone being sick.  Greg Oden, former Lawrence North high school star, is out once again for the year due to knee issues.  You can only hope he is able to get through his injuries and make a career in the NBA.  Along with Oden, big-man Marcus Camby is out as well with knee problems.  Oh, and star guard Brandon Roy is also out indefinitely with knee issues as well...even with all their knee issues, the Blazers are still 24-20 and hanging on tightly to the 8th and final playoff spot.

The Pacers have already lost two games that they definitely could have one, but they have to move past those and bring some intensity and play a solid game against the Blazers all game.  The key is closing in the 3rd and 4th quarters when they have the lead.  As mentioned in a number of links today, Pacers play very well for 3 quarters or so, but simply cannot finish.  Darren Collison took a lot of the blame as the starting PG, so look for him to try to control things himself more tonight towards the end.  After the jump, check out the links of the day...

Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs. Trail Blazers
Countdown to Tipoff has the complete scouting report, including key stats, matchups, trends, injury and broadcast info, for the Pacers' game in Portland tonight against the Trail Blazers.

Trail Blazers game preview: Indiana Pacers at Portland | OregonLive.com
Game Preview from Portland's perspective...

Blazersedge - For Portland Trail Blazers Fans
Your best source for quality Portland Trail Blazers news, rumors, analysis, stats and scores from the fan perspective.

Pacers not satisfied with level of improvement - USATODAY.com
Danny Granger acknowledges that the Indiana Pacers are in a much better position at this point in the season than they have been in recent years.

Pacers coach, GM are dead men walking? - CBSSports.com
Nothing new we haven' heard, but figured I would put in someone else's opinion on it...

Pacers lacking close-out consistency
The Indiana Pacers have shown they can play a solid 24 minutes of basketball. They've also shown they can do it for 36 and even 40 minutes.

Pincus: Time For Pacers to Fully Embrace Youth?
The Indiana Pacers need to fully embrace the youth movement and rebuilding process. The team has been looking for direction for far too long.

Will Bird leave the Pacers? - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
Marc Spears checks in with Larry Bird on his future with the Pacers.

Blake Griffin Is Amazing, But Don't Forget About Eric Gordon - SBNation.com
From Mike Prada: Blake Griffin is getting all the attention for the Los Angeles Clippers' improvement, but don't forget about Eric Gordon, who may be the best young scoring guard in the league.

League's owners, union to meet during All-Star Weekend - NBA - SI.com
NEW YORK (AP) -- The NBA and its players' association will meet next month during the All-Star break as they try to make progress on a new collective bargaining agreement.

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