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Pacers Will Need To Conjure Up Some Sort Of Defense To Stop Jazz

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This probably isn't the best time for the Indiana Pacers to visit the Utah Jazz. Of course, really when would there be a better time this season? Definitely not until the Pacers learn to play defense.

The Jazz (10-6) and Pacers are streaking, although both in opposite directions, and Utah's recent six wins in seven games have allowed the team to find its offensive intensity and efficiency that was missing at the beginning of the season. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Jazz nearly set a team record the other night by shooting better than 60 percent from the field for the third straight game (the team made 58 percent of its shots in a 120-93 thumping of Memphis on Monday). The Jazz have also scored more than 100 points all but three times this season.

Umm, as you can guess, that's probably not good for the Pacers right now. Unless the team picked up some sort of magical defense elixir on its trip from Sacramento to Utah, Indiana will need to conjure up players who can defend the pick-and-roll and the perimeter for tonight's matchup. Neither of those things have happened often this season.

Indiana will continue to use its new nine-man rotation tonight against Utah, but the team will probably run into problems in the fourth quarter again when Mike Dunleavy and Tyler Hansbrough reach their maximum minute schedules of 20 minutes and 16 minutes, respectively. No doubt about it, tonight will be a tough game for the defensive-lapsing Pacers.

But don't get down and turn that frown upside down. Check out the links after the jump and give a little prayer. Miracles still happen.

  • Mike Wells reports that the Pacers are still trying to find excuses for their poor play of late. He notes that the Pacers last had success this season when Troy Murphy wasn't in the game and when the team played small-ball, but coach Jim O'Brien said that lineup isn't likely to return because of how vital Murphy is to spreading the floor. Also, here's a quote from T.J. Ford, effectively citing enough evidence for his own benching:

"I don't know what we're going through right now, but it's not good. I don't know, but we have to figure out how to be consistent as a collective group. I guess you find the guys that are the most productive and play them. Just do what it takes." -- T.J. Ford