|March 13, 2009 - 7:30PM EST|
|Radio: 1070AM WFNI TV: Fox Sports Indiana|
|T.J. Ford||PG||Mike Bibby|
|Jarrett Jack||SG||Joe Johnson|
|Danny Granger||SF||Maurice Evans|
|Troy Murphy||PF||Josh Smith|
|Roy Hibbert||C||Al Horford|
UPDATE: Mike Wells reports that Danny Granger is now "iffy" for tonight.
The Indiana Pacers are in Atlanta Friday night trying to get back on the winning track to stay in the mix for an Eastern Conference playoff spot. Danny Granger is a game-time decision but it appears like he's going to give it a go tonight. Hopefully, he is actually 100% and not just talking himself into it.
This game is going to be a tough W for the Pacers to bring home. The Hawks are athletic enough to give the Pacers problems, plus they appear to be gathering a little momentum. This is a relatively young team that smelled some success last year, began this year strongly and then leveled off for a couple of months. With a solid Eastern Conference record secured in the middle of the long regular season grind, it is simply human nature for this type of team to take their foot off the gas. Then they realize they aren't good enough to get by with less than a full effort. Suddenly the days get longer and there is literally some light at the end of the regular season tunnel. The focus and effort begin to return with the playoffs not far away. So now opponents have their hands full.
I'm afraid the Pacers are catching the Hawks with their game and confidence on the rise. They've won three in a row over Detroit, New Orleans and Utah. Not bad. My only hope is that the Pacerse can catch the Hawks exhaling after getting up for the Hornets and Jazz and feeling good about themselves again.
I love the emotional side of the game so when you combine the Hawks state of mind with the Pacers possibly working Danny Granger back into the lineup, this one should be plenty interesting.
Here are the Pacers.com Matchups.
For an Atlanta perspective, check out Peachtree Hoops and Hoopinion.
- Bruno's latest Caught in the Web focuses on Danny Granger's return and how that changes the role of Marquis Daniels.
- Mike Wells takes a look at the value Marquis Daniels brings to the Pacers and how they may be able to keep him. I maintain, unless Quisy takes a good-sized salary cut, there's not cap room. But, as Larry Bird mentions, there's a lot yet to be determined with regard to the roster and the offseason.
- Kevin Lee reports on Danny Granger making it through practice yesterday and Jim O'Brien expecting Granger to play tonight. Kevin is no longer working directly for 1070 The Fan so this is his last blog update. I, for one, will miss these timely updates.
- Check out my Q & A with Hawks.com.
- Mark Boyle interviews Jerry Sloan on his latest podcast.
Leave your thoughts and observations in the comments.