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IC Cold Links: O'Brien Wants To Use Last Year's Lineup; Pacers Prepare For Clippers

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There is just something about playing those pesky Knicks that sends the Indiana Pacers either into the stratosphere or in a tailspin.

After beating the Knicks to send themselves on a five-game winning streak, the Pacers have been chopped liver since New York ended the winning streak, effectively sending Indiana reeling for four straight. Last night's loss in Toronto left the team in shambles again as coach Jim O'Brien can't find a suitable lineup (starting or in reserve) to kickstart the team's defense, which allowed 74 first-half points.

Yesterday, O'Brien shuffled the lineup by sending starters Dahntay Jones and Roy Hibbert to the bench in favor of Jeff Foster and Brandon Rush. O'Brien explained to the IndyStar's Mike Wells after the game that Jones, who continues to be one of the brightest and exciting parts of the team's young season, deserves to be the starter. The problem? O'Brien has been waiting for injuries to clear up so that he can go back to using the same starting lineup that finished last season on a roll.

O'Brien: "I think Dahntay deserves to start, but I think it's better for our rotation if Dahntay comes off the bench. Dahntay knows I think he's a starter. The whole plan throughout the preseason was to pretty much play the team that we had success with at the end of last year, but we weren't healthy enough to do that."

For tonight's game against the Clippers, Hibbert will be re-inserted into the lineup in place of Foster, but Jones is certain to continue to come off the bench, giving O'Brien his "dream" lineup of T.J. Ford, Rush, Danny Granger, Troy Murphy and Hibbert. With Mike Dunleavy getting an ever-so slim chance of playing tonight for the first time this year, it will be interesting to see how the bench rotations play out with the starters set.

Check out the jump for links to recaps and more on last night's loss to the Raptors.

  • AP Story
  • Box Score
  • Photo Gallery
  • Recap
  • Bruno's postgame report names Danny Granger of the Player of the Game (36 points, nine rebounds, four assists) last night, which O'Brien called "irrelevant" (and he's right). The report also shines a light on this filthy stat: the Pacers yielded a season-high 123 points and dropped to 1-6 when they allow at least 100 points. Gross. Here's what Jim O'Brien had to say about the team's insistence to only play well in the third quarter:

"You can't play one good quarter on the road and expect to win. We played with no force in the first half and made it a game in the second half because we did play with force. You have to play four quarters on the road and we did not do that." -- Jim O'Brien

  • Mike Wells recaps the game noting the lack of the Pacers' defensive abilities during their recent four-game slide.
  • Wells also dumps out the notebook on O'Brien shuffling the starting lineup as well as Jarrett Jack saying the Pacers told him this offseason that he was their No. 1 priority to re-sign. I think when the Pacers made that promise, they weren't counting on the Raptors robbing the bank to steal Jack away from us. More on this later.
  • The IndyStar also features an article on current Clippers' star and Indy native Eric Gordon. The shooting guard has been out with injury and is listed as questionable for tonight's game, according to the Los Angeles Times.
  • Tim Donahue at Eight Points, Nine Seconds gives us the statistical analysis on what went wrong in Toronto.
  • John Oehser provides his take on the Pacers loss for, and Always Miller Time also recaps the game.
  • Raptors Republic shows how the Raptors felt about last night's game (answer: pretty damn good). Here is the recap from the Toronto Star.
  • So...the Toronto media really played up the hype about Jack "destroying" his former team because of how the Pacers treated him this summer. In this column in the Toronto Star, the columnist makes every attempt to show how Jack couldn't even keep his emotions in check, especially if he were to go one-on-one against T.J. Ford, so Toronto's coach kept Jack on the bench until Ford left the game. The columnist also pulled the "circle the game on the calendar" but Jack didn't bite. I thought everything ended amicably this summer as Jack understood that the Pacers had no way, no how to match the Raptors' offer. This column tries to make it sound like the Pacers never had any intention on re-signing the point guard. I think the writer missed the mark on this one. 
  • Here is a preview for tonight's game at Conseco "Reggie Miller" Fieldhouse, as well as another preview from SB Nation's Clips Nation.
  • ESPN's Daily Dime checks in with how the Eastern Conference playoffs should look like at the end of the season. You can guess which team from central Indiana is not involved in the discussion.