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Game Thread #31: Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers

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Indiana Pacers
20-10 10-20
December 30, 2008 - 7:00PM EST
Conseco Fieldhouse
Radio: 1070AM WFNI TV: Fox Sports Indiana
Probable starters:
Mike Bibby PG Jarrett Jack
Joe Johnson SG Marquis Daniels
Josh Smith SF Danny Granger
Marvin Williams PF Troy Murphy
Al Horford C Roy Hibbert

UPDATE: Bruno's LIVE Blog is up and running with game updates.

Last year the Pacers were fighting the Atlanta Hawks for the final playoff position in the Eastern Confernece. With a few games to go, the Pacers were eliminated while the Hawks went on to scare the livin' leprechaun out of the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

Tuesday night, the Hawks visit the Fieldhouse with a reciprocal record to the Pacers at 20-10 and tucked into fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Former IU and Broad Ripple Rocket standout, Mike Woodson survived the coaching hot seat last year and has his young team trending upward and appearing ready to make a run in the playoffs this year.

The Hawks come to Indy after playing their last eight games at home, winning seven of those game including the last five in a row. Last night the Hawks used a second-half surge to take care of the Denver Nuggets, 109-91. Normally, I'd say the Pacers catch a break playing the Hawks on the backside of a back-to-back, but the Hawks are probably excited to hit the road for a few days after such an extended stay at home.

For the Pacers, nothing changes. Take care of the ball and show some toughness at the defensive end and this game should be there for the taking. It is far past time for the Pacers to make their own breaks and find a way to win. It won't be easy considering the Hawks run with a young, athletic group comparable to lineups that have caused the Pacers problems. Regardless, it is time.

Here are the Pacers.com Matchups and Video Scouting Report. T.J. Ford appears doubtful, again.

For the Atlanta perspective, check out Peachtree Hoops.

Gameday Reading

  • Bruno's latest Caught in the Web looks at Danny Granger's All-Star credentials, Mike Dunleavy's progress, frustrating Friday nights, and a Fred Jones sighting.
  • Mark Boyle talks with Mike Woodson on his latest podcast.
  • Jeff Foster on 1070 The Fan with Bob Kravitz and Eddie White never disappoints. Foster mentioned telling his wife that waking up Monday morning after another killer loss was like "frickin' ground hog's day." He can't believe how many times he's blocked out a guy and seen a game-winner from the oppenent drop through the net. Heads are up and ready to go, though.
  • Mike Wells directs a ray of sunshine on the Pacers' current situation by pointing out that the Blue and Gold are only 3.5 games out of a playoff spot in the East. He also touches on the injury status of T.J. Ford and Mike Dunleavy.

I will be checking in from the Fieldhouse for this one. Leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.