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Game Thread #65: Indiana Pacers at Los Angeles Clippers

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Indiana Pacers
Los Angeles Clippers
27-37 15-47
March 7, 2009 - 10:30PM EST
Radio: 1070AM WFNI TV: No local TV
Probable starters:
T.J. Ford PG Baron Davis
Jarrett Jack SG Eric Gordon
Marquis Daniels SF Al Thornton
Troy Murphy PF Marcus Camby
Roy Hibbert C DeAndre Jordan

UPDATE: Jeff Rabjohns reports today that Eric Gordon will give it a go tonight.

After a couple of days in L.A., the Pacers have to focus on basketball again tonight when they close out their West Coast road trip against the Clippers. Often times, the last game of a road trip is a trap game that finds the road team putting up a poor effort with too many thoughts about returning home floating through the players' heads.

I'm not too worried about that tonight for a couple of reasons. First, this Pacers team is wired differently than most. Effort never seems to be an issue, especially when it seems like it should. Also, as far as NBA road trips go, this one is pretty short considering this is only the third game. The couple of off-days won't hurt either.

The problem for the Pacers will be the Clippers. If you recall, one of the Clippers' 15 wins was against the Pacers back in December at the Fieldhouse. Local legends Zach Randolph and Eric Gordon were big factors in that double-OT win for the Clippers. The Pacers were also without Mike Dunleavy, Marquis Daniels, Danny Granger and Troy Murphy as the team weathered the first wave of viral infections.

Granger is expected to miss the game tonight but Quisy and Murph should be ready to continue their recent stellar play. As for the Clips, both Randolph and EJ may not be factors at all. Zach has been dealing with family issues back in Indiana and Gordon has missed the last four games with a bad shoulder. During a couple of local radio interviews this week, EJ sounded as though he planned to play tonight, but the medical staff may think differently.

The Pacers are 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the East. Chicago and Charlotte appear to be the strongest contenders at this point. Chicago simply because of their talent and Charlotte because of their coaching to go along with their young talent. The Bobcats have won five in a row, a win streak the Pacers haven't come close to matching this year. On Thursday, Jim O'Brien mentioned that he has his team focused on finishing the final 18 games with a 12-6 record in order to give themselves a shot at the playoffs.

For a Clippers perspective, check out Clips Nation and Clipper Blog.

Gameday Reading

Leave your thoughts and observations in the comments.