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IC Cold Links: Pacers Depth Will Be Key Against Hawks

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The Indiana Pacers face another tough challenge on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks. Like the Philadelphia 76ers, the Hawks have long athletic options that can cause serious problems when they get on a roll which they have done in the past far too often against the Pacers.

Former Pike High School star Jeff Teague has taken over the starting point guard slot in his third year with Atlanta and won't give it up any time soon, even when injured point guard Kirk Hinrich returns. With Hinrich out all season and starting forward Marvin Williams out tonight with a sprained ankle, the Pacers should have an advantage with the depth they can throw at the Hawks.

Of course, that relies on a steady return to the court by Danny Granger (ankle) and George Hill (back) which won't be known until tip time, but if they can go the Pacers need to utilize their second unit to keep pressure on the Hawks for all 48 minutes.

In the Hawks' game on Monday, coach Larry Drew played all of his starters over 37 minutes and three of them over 42 minutes. The Hawks jumped out early in the win over New Jersey but had to hold on in the second half to win. Surely Drew will have to use his bench more tonight, but if the Pacers can force the Hawks to work all 48 minutes and Drew doesn't have confidence in his bench, then the Pacers may have a weary opponent going down the stretch. So watch those minutes.

Check out the links after the jump, including a great Hammer & Nigel barcast prior to the season with Mark Boyle with chatter on all kinds of topics including the Pacers.