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Open Game Thread #25: Indiana Pacers vs. Golden State Warriors

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Golden State Warriors
Indiana Pacers
7-18 8-16
December 17, 2008 - 7:00PM EST
Conseco Fieldhouse
Radio: 1070AM WFNI TV: Fox Sports Indiana
Probable starters:
Jamal Crawford PG T.J. Ford
C.J. Watson SG Marquis Daniels
Stephen Jackson SF Danny Granger
Kelenna Azubuike PF Troy Murphy
Andris Biedrins C Rasho Nesterovic

UPDATE: Bruno is LIVE! blogging from the Fieldhouse. That's the good news. The bad news? Both T.J. Ford and Troy Murphy are scratches tonight. Fabulous.

The Indiana Pacers return home after five straight games on the road to host the Golden State Warriors. Last year this was a huge game with tons of juice as the teams played a home-and-home with all the key players involved in the big 2007 trade deadline deal that sent Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington to the Dubs and Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy to the Pacers.

What a difference a mess makes. Harrington was recently traded to the Knicks where he's found some success running with Mike D'Antoni. Dunleavy has yet to play this year with a knee injury keeping him sidelined and not able to back up his break-out season of last year.

Troy Murphy has played and put up huge numbers compared to his past few years. Murph is currently fifth in the league in rebounding with 11.1 caroms per and his twelve double-doubles lead the Pacers.

For the Warriors, Stephen Jackson has been quiet as a church mouse, simply working hard and trying to lead as Captain Jack. He leads the Dubs in minutes played and averages 18.6 ppg and an amazing 6.1 assists per. Real nice numbers, but Jack's shooting percentages (FG 37%, 3PT 27%) are well below his career averages, likely the result of playing through a left hand injury.

The real blah-inducing problem with this matchup is that with the Pacers at 8-16 and the Warriors at 7-18, the struggles of both teams outweighs any lingering subplots left over from the trade. I never believed the trade was worthy of the hype it evoked, now more than ever. Essentially, both teams traded problems and moved on with their lives but they didn't solve all of their problems.

So, tonight all the juice will be generated from the desperation of both clubs to gather a much needed W. Points should be plentiful and the pace outlandish, so despite the fizzled subplots, this one should be entertaining.

Here are the matchups and video scouting report. JOB has T.J. Ford as doubtful for tonight which will force Jarrett Jack to play heavy minutes. Also, JOB mentioned last night that the Mike Dunleavy's earliest return may be sometime in January.

For a Golden State perspective, check out Golden State of Mind.

Gameday Reading

  • Mike Wells looks at the now-or-never stretch of the schedule that the Pacers are in the midst of playing. Defensive effort and consistency are key in the upcoming winnable games against teams with enough offensive weapons to go off if left unchecked.
  • Janny Hu focuses on Dubs' coach Don Nelson working through a time when losing teams are quick to make coaching changes. Tim Kawakami explores why Nellie's job is still safe.
  • Marcus Thompson II finds new Warrior, Jamal Crawford staying positive. Also, Corey Maggette did not travel with the team.

Leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.