Here come the walking wounded. Or, hopefully, here come the reinforcements.
The injured Indiana Pacers are finally returning to the lineup, allowing the Pacers to play with a near-full roster for the first time since Mark Jackson was doing the shimmy down Meridian. With Troy Murphy posting a comeback (a solid 12-point, 10-rebound debut) during last night's 105-95 loss to the Cavaliers after a six-game absence, the other White Ambulance Brigade members are planning their comebacks as well.
IndyStar reporter Mike Wells notes that Jeff Foster is set to play in Sunday's game at Charlotte. Mike Dunleavy could see limited minutes in Wednesday's game against Washington. Only Travis Diener announced bad news regarding his nasty toe injury -- the point guard is out 4-6 weeks after having surgery on his left big toe.
Foster and Dunleavy's return will obviously be not only important for their on-court presence, but their off-the-court manner and leadership could do wonders to keep this team aloft during the fourth quarter and in practice. Instead of seeing Danny Granger slumped over on the bench during a late-game collapse, Foster and Dunleavy will hopefully help start a resurgence for the team psyche in their jerseys rather than in their stylish suits.
So if you're down in the dumps after the Pacers slumped over and played opossum in the fourth quarter for the second straight loss, well, there's hopefully some veterans who can help remedy that problem. I mean, we're bringing back guys who know how to squander leads in the third quarter, but who also have a history of fun comebacks in the final period. Combine them with guys who know how to dominate third quarters, but can't do anything in the fourth and, well, you've got a second-half team my friend.
While you're waiting for these guys to return to action, check out the jump for links to reports on last night's loss, LeBron's domination, and Jamaal Tinsley's debut week in Memphis.
- Box Score
- AP Story
- Photo Gallery, featuring Pete Rose and the Sign Guy
- Bruno's Live Blog
- Bruno's Postgame Report gives Player of the Game honors to Brandon Rush (16 points, 6-of-10 shooting), while also noting the casual and quiet double-double posted by Troy Murphy (12 pts., 10 rebounds) after returning from a six-game absence. Stat of the night: "In the fourth quarters of their last two games, both losses, the Pacers shot 8-of-35 from the field (.228), committed 10 turnovers and totaled 30 points." Ouch.
- The IndyStar's Mike Wells writes his recap on the game, while also wondering if the Pacers should propose that the NBA switch to three-quarter games, instead of four in his Pacers Insider blog.
- Also from the Star, columnist Bob Kravitz attended the game and writes about the current team while referring back to the Brawl. He also praises team president Larry Bird for the Tyler Hansbrough draft pick and the Dahntay Jones pickup. Also mentions Shawne Williams. I think it's in his contract to mention him in every article.
- John Oehser recapped the game for NBA.com, and his Examiner page here, and came up with the following quote from Cavs coach Mike Brown about LeBron James:
"He had a big night -- his will and ability to attack . . . when he does that he makes us good. It not only makes us good offensively, but it gives us energy defensively. The shots he takes, there aren't many guys who can take and make those. People ask me every once in a while, 'You think LeBron's taking bad shots?' You have to be careful when you have a player like that. If he wasn't taking and making those shots, we wouldn't win a lot of games. . . . Sometimes the best coaching is to get out his way." -- Mike Brown
- Rcaps on the game from Always Miller Time and Pacers Pulse. Also a game preview from Eight Points, Nine Seconds.
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Cavs returned to their former selves -- winners -- in their matchup in Indy. Also, here is the game thread from SB Nation's Fear The Sword.
- ESPN's Weekend Dime has a one-on-one interview with former Pacers point guard Jarrett Jack about his start with the Raptors.
- Another update on an ex-Pacer. Jamaal Tinsley has now played 11 minutes in two games since signing with the Grizzlies last week. He's totaled two rebounds, zero points and zero assists.