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Open Game Thread #34: Pacers vs. Hawks

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I was looking forward to attending tonight's game with Cornrows, Jr. but the little sharp-shooter woke up sick this morning. The fact that he didn't even try to talk his way into a trip to the Fieldhouse tells me he's REALLY sick. So, with no TV we'll enjoy the call of Mark Boyle and Slick Leonard.

Since the Pacers' last meeting with the Atlanta nine days ago, the Hawks have lost two road games to Dallas and Cleveland. They join the Pacers in the soft quagmire that is the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. With Jamaal Tinsley expected to miss the game tonight, the Pacers need to find their offensive flow somewhere else. Most likely, someone (anyone!) will have to be stroking perimeter jumpers, whether it be Danny, Dunleavy, Murph. How about all of the above? The way things have gone lately, cranking up the offense seems more likely then clamping down on defense, so let's hope the nets are snapping tonight for the home team.

Well, it might not have started out so promising, but both the Pacers and Hawks are poised to make some noise in the East, which means tonight's game is a big game for playoff positioning.

As usual, check out Bruno's Scouting Report. O'B reassures us that the Pacers are still developing within his system so better days remain ahead. Today could be one of those days. Why not?

Here's what the efficiency numbers say:

Team Pace Off.Eff. Def.Eff.
IND 96.4(3rd) 105.8(16th) 107.2(15th)
ATL 88.7(25th) 105.6(17th) 105.8(10th)


Projected Starters
PACERS pos. HAWKS
Jermaine O'Neal F Josh Smith
Danny Granger F Marvin Williams
Troy Murphy C Al Horford
Mike Dunleavy G Joe Johnson
Andre Owens G Anthony Johnson

Feel free to leave your thoughts on the game in the comments.