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Game Thread #52: Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards

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Indiana Pacers
Washington Wizards
20-31 10-40
February 8, 2009 - 6:00PM EST
Verizon Center
Radio: 1070AM WFNI TV: None
Probable starters:
T.J. Ford PG Mike James
Jarrett Jack SG Caron Butler
Mike Dunleavy SF Dominic McGuire
Danny Granger PF Antawn Jamison
Troy Murphy C Darius Songaila

The Washington Wizards have served as a buffer between the Pacers and the basement in the Eastern Conference most of the year. When the two teams meet today, however the Pacers find themselves passing a couple of more teams in the standings despite the mixed results of late.

The Wizards have struggled to get anything going this year with injuries continually keeping their playing rotation in flux. Tonight they hope to have Caron Butler back on the court after the flu has kept him sidelined for the past two games.

The Pacers will likely start with a small lineup once again, but it appears that JOB will contrast the small ball with a dose of Roy Hibbert off the bench. Looking back at the small lineup against Orlando, their results were mixed, finishing with a 5-man +/- of -4. I wouldn't mind seeing that small lineup with Marquis Daniels instead of Jack.

As for Hibbert, it finally looks like he's earned another heavy look. He was in a similar situation when the Pacers played at Washington in December, but had one of his worst performances. He just needs to slow things down when he's on the court. As Jim O'Brien admits (to my shock), Hibbert is the Pacers "most legitimate low post threat."

So run when you can, but with Roy in the game, run things through him in the half court. He's a solid passer out of the post, and can make scoring opportunities for himself. The key, again, is for Roy to slow down and not make it too complicated. He needs to go easy on the "Dream Shake in progress" moves and stay within his game. If he does, then Roy can impact the game off the bench.

Here are the matchups.

For a D.C. perspective, check out Bullets Forever.

Gameday Reading

  • Bob Kravitz Let's It Out and begs for the rooks to play and some executive or player from the local pro teams to sacrifice a little salary for the laid off workers in their respective organizations.
  • Ivan Carter reports on a Wizards team getting frustrated with the team's lack of progress.
  • Brendan O'Shaughnessy wonders how the CIB will solve their $43 million dollar deficit and how much of that solution will dip into taxpayers pockets.

Leave your thoughts and observations in the comments.