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Game Thread #21: Indiana Pacers at Toronto Raptors

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7-13 8-12
December 9, 2008 - 7:00PM EST
Air Canada Centre
Radio: 1070AM WFNI TV: Fox Sports Indiana
Probable starters:
T.J. Ford PG Jose Calderon
Marquis Daniels SG Anthony Parker
Danny Granger SF Andrea Bargnani
Troy Murphy PF Chris Bosh
Rasho Nesterovic C Jermaine O'Neal

The Indiana Pacers have to remember that they are playing the Toronto Raptors tonight, all 12 of the Toronto Raptors. The rest of us can focus on the fact that the Pacers are facing Jermaine O'Neal for the first time since the big trade this summer that brought in T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Baston and Roy Hibbert to Indy.

While all the new Pacers have excelled and struggled at different times this season, I think it's safe to say that the Pacers are getting far more production out of that $21 million chunk of the salary cap than they did last year. Helps when a third of the cap is actually going to a third of the active players and those players are, well, active.

Bruno checked in with Larry Bird to see if he was still happy with the deal.

"I’d do it again,” Bird said without hesitation.

Of course, there 's plenty of other quotes from everyone involved on the Pacers' end. T.J. Ford will definitely be amped for his return to Toronto. Hopefully he can keep his energy focused in a positive direction on the floor. Jose Calderon seems to always torch the Pacers so the PG matchup will garner plenty of attention from Raps' fans, that 's for sure.

For the other side of the story, Mike Wells checks in with J.O. and finds him happy with his situation, not happy with the team's start but still saying all the right things. For posterity, J.O. reminds us that he didn't have a good relationship with Larry Bird. I wonder if Jermaine will ever understand why he drove Bird nuts. Oh well, that's not really a concern anymore. J.O. sounds more excited about playing the Pacers in Indy in January.

"The state of Indiana will always have a special place in me and my family's heart, no matter what," he said. "But that's a chapter that has closed in my life. That franchise needed a new start with me leaving. They are going forward, and the city seems to be behind them."

Here are the matchups. Check out the sixth man mathcup, looks like there could be a little Graham-on-Graham crime at the rim in this one.

For a Toronto perspective, check out Raptor Blog, Raptors Republic, RaptorsHQ and as always, HoopsAddict for even more general NBA goodness.

More Gameday Reading

  • Dime has Danny Granger on the list of 10 Potential All-Star Snubs with a reasonable case why the numbers game at forward in the Eastern Conference does not bode well for Danny being tapped as an All-Star this year.
  • Frank Zicarelli thinks trading T.J. Ford was a mistake by the Raptors.
  • The Raptors were rocked by Cleveland last night. The Pacers can certainly feel their pain in that regard and expect the Raps to come out ready to redeem themselves tonight.

Leave your comments and obersvations about the game in the comments.