This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.
Records: The Oklahoma City Thunder (10-5) vs. The ndiana Pacers (7-6)
Time: 7:00 PM Central Standard Time
Place: The Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, Fox Sports Net Indiana
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), 1070 AM ESPN The Fan
Previous Meeting(s): None.
I hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving and, consequently, survived Black Friday. Personally, I was at Toys 'R Us for three and a half hours. It was pretty extreme.
Regardless, today, the Thunder are resuming play after what was mostly an off-day in the NBA. They face the Indiana Pacers, a team that's done remarkably well considering the little roster change they've had over the past few seasons. The one major change they did make to their roster over the off-season was the acquisition of Darren Collison, who came in a 4 team deal where they gave up Troy Murphy. Collison was a relatively unheralded player out of college, but when he stepped in at Point Guard after Chris Paul went down with an injury last season, he quickly became a sensation and was named to the All-Rookie team last season.
Joining the Pacers would be a true test as to whether he could be the great PG everyone expected him to be, or whether he would be a flash in the pan. So far, he's held up, leading the Pacers to a winning record and scoring rather proficiently. But he hasn't done it alone, as Roy Hibbert has continued to improve, and Mike Dunleavy, long considered to be too much of a tweener to play any position, has finally found a home playing a Peja Stojakovic-like SG position. Danny Granger continues to be the best player on the team.
Below: The Pacers This Year, How the Game Will Go, Prediction!
So, where does this leave the Pacers? Well, they're not spectacular, and they could still very well finish with 30 wins. But the Collison trade seems to have given this team the boost they've needed to compete for a playoff spot in the East. They've had good wins over Miami and Denver, and can play with just about anyone in the league.
Their main problem lies in their inconsistency. One night, they can beat the Heat by 16, and another, they can lose to the lowly 76ers by 26. Without ever having really watched this year's version of the Pacers, I can't honestly tell you why this team is inconsistent, or what types of teams they struggle against. All I know is that the Thunder will need to stick Sefolosha on Danny Granger, rather than Mike Dunleavy, and we'll have to force Darren Collison into committing some bad turnovers. Also, if we're to have any hope of stopping Roy Hibbert, Krstic will definitely have to play like his defensively minded 2010-2011 self, rather than his 2009-2010 self.
By the way, I'm told Hibbert should be ready to go tonight. So expect him in the lineup.
Prediction: Oklahoma City 109, Indiana 103