|October 28th, 2008 - 8:00PM EST|
|The Palace of Auburn Hills|
|Radio: 1070AM WFNI TV: Fox Sports Indiana|
|T.J. Ford||PG||Chauncey Billups|
|Marquis Daniels||SG||Rip Hamilton|
|Danny Granger||SF||Tayshaun Prince|
|Troy Murphy||PF||Amir Johnson|
|Rasho Nesterovic||C||Rasheed Wallace|
The Indiana Pacers open the season tonight against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace in Auburn Hills, MI. The combination of the terms Pacers, Pistons and Palace no longer illicits a visceral reaction, at least among those of us who follow things closely. Larry Bird has worked hard to revamp the roster and scrub the franchise of any remnants of the brawl, as he discussed with Bob Kravitz. Nice to see Kravitz is finally ready to move on with the rest of us.
Since everyone has officially moved on, what better way to begin a new era with the Pacers than to take all of the fresh faces and tip off the season at the Palace. Now, if only the Pistons weren't such a formidable opponent it would be perfect.
The main problem with the Pistons is that they've owned the Pacers lately, including a season sweep last year. They still have the veteran core led by Billups, Rip and Rasheed and now welcome Prince as a full fledged vet. Throw in the active young players like Amir Johnson, Jason Maxiell, Rodney Stuckey and Aaron Afflalo and it's hard to see how the Pistons will actually decline this year as I've heard from several pundits.
New coach, Michael Curry has apparently re-emphasized toughness and competition after Flip Saunders allowed the team to exhale and recover from the demanding Larry Brown era. As long as the players (and by players I mean Rasheed Wallace) stay on board the Curry train, the Pistons will always be a tough out.
The Pistons are notorious for seizing on mistakes so the Pacers will have to play well and value the basketball on every possession to be in it to win it late in the game. Not an easy task with a new group trying to push a fast pace.
Also, check out Bruno's Scouting Report which confirms that Mike Dunleavy and Travis Diener will be suited and booted on the bench tonight. Hmm, I wonder if Jamaal Tinsley has to wear a suit at home in Atlanta tonight?
Feel free to leave your thoughts on the game in the comments.