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Game Thread #31: Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers

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8-22 13-17
December 31, 2010 - 3:00PM EST
Conseco Fieldhouse
Radio: 93.1FM WIBC TV: No local TV
Probable starters:
John Wall PG Darren Collison
Nick Young SG Brandon Rush
Rashard Lewis SF Danny Granger
Andray Blatche PF Josh McRoberts
JaVale McGee C Roy Hibbert

Merry New Year Pacers fans!

What better way to tip of your New Year's Eve festivities than with an afternoon game at the Fieldhouse? The Indiana Pacers start the party early today when they host the Washington Wizards.

Let's hope this game is a little more festive then the game in Washington on Wednesday. Anything resembling that effort and the story won't be the final score but whether or not Jim O'Brien will survive through the the 5-day break next week.

This would be a horrible time for the organization to have to deal with a coaching change, but the perception that there needs to be a change has flooded the casual fan level. The team can't continue their mediocre slide without a change or fans will completely tune out.

A loss today might put JOB on the same island Stephen Jackson once resided where the team has no choice but to let him go. If the team is still employing pollster Frank Luntz to gauge fan opinion, JOB would be toast. It's crazy how quickly this thing turned bad, and with a tough stretch of games coming up, only a few impressive wins can turn things back the other way.

As for the actual game, John Wall should be back in the starting lineup for the Wizards which immediately creates a matchup nightmare for the Pacers. That won't matter though unless the Pacers can find a way to keep Washington off the offensive glass. Still, the Wiz haven't won on the road this season, so if the Pacers have to play with a sense of urgency today and find a way to win.

Here is the Pacers.com preview.

For a Washington perspective, check out Bullets Forever and Truth About It.

Leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.