Pacers Links: Pacers have productive off days while prepping for Nets

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers host the Nets on Saturday night but while they didn't play the last four days, Indiana was able to add to their lead in the Eastern Conference.

The Indiana Pacers continue to roll along atop the Eastern Conference while various other contenders deal with injuries as the wear and tear of the regular season starts to make an impact. The Pacers have to look no further than their next opponent, the Brooklyn Nets, to see how injuries can upset a strong roster and send the season into a tailspin before it even gets going.

The Pacers only significant injury news has been of the good variety (please find a chunk of wood and knock two or three times) with the return of Danny Granger. George Hill has a nagging hip injury that occasionally causes problems, but other than that, the Pacers are in good shape.

They even extended their Eastern Conference lead while not playing the past four games after the Sacramento Kings rose up and beat the Miami Heat in overtime. The Heat left it up to LeBron James to do the heavy lifting with Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen and Birdman Andersen taking the night off. After the loss, LeBron complained of a groin strain which makes him questionable for their game tonight at Portland.

Frank Vogel has been able to manage the minutes for key players, riding the young legs of Paul George and Lance Stephenson the most while picking his spots to rest David West and Roy Hibbert. That is all part of the regular season grind, finding ways to manage the mileage on the roster while still winning games.The Pacers and their training staff have made all the right moves so far and need to continue taking advantage while other teams work through their injury issues.

Also, Andrew Bynum is suddenly a wild card in the league, having worn out his welcome in Cleveland to the point he may be moved to a contending team that could re-ignite his passion for the game. Oh, brother.

Check out the links:

Game Preview: Pacers vs Nets | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

Pacers try to extend win streak in rematch with Nets - 1070 The Fan

Granger's return gives glimpse of Pacers full potential | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com

Nets Get Off the Mat, but Heavyweights Loom on the Schedule - NYTimes.com

Nets rewind: Small ball key to win over hapless Bucks | New York Post

TheJayGravesReport.com: Rules of Engagement! (Why the media is hatin' on Lance Stephenson for following hood protocol!)

Game 30 - Brooklyn Nets at Indiana Pacers, 7:00 PM - NetsDaily

Aldridge: Nets have 'no interest' in Andrew Bynum - NetsDaily

LeBron James injures groin, may sit vs. Trail Blazers - USA Today

Cavaliers suspend Andrew Bynum as negative influence - USA Today

Andrew Bynum of Cleveland Cavaliers suspended, on trade block - ESPN

Jason Kidd losing support within Nets' locker room - Yahoo Sports

Notebook: Pacers Enjoy Christmas at Home | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

Greg Oden expanding pregame workouts, getting closer to return with Heat | ProBasketballTalk

The fallout: Thunder, Hawks can’t replace contributions of Westbrook, Horford | The Point Forward - SI.com

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