The Pacers are a bad team. They're mired in mediocrity, with an over-rated "star" as their centerpiece, a couple of young pieces with some potential and a cast of supporting characters who just don't fit. Some people would say the Sixers are in the same boat. I think the Sixers are in a better situation for the short and long term, but playing the second night of a back-to-back is probably a worse situation for Philly than Indy.
The problem for the Sixers isn't so much an overall lack of talent, it's the depth of their talent. In fact, their talent is so shallow they can't even field a legitimate starting five. So while they're a young team, one of the youngest in the league, they're extremely dependent on the older guys, specifically Elton Brand. If Brand can't contribute the way he did last night, they're going to get nothing from the front court at all. Add Iguodala's wrist injury and Nocioni's time off with the ankle injury, and we're looking at a roster that probably isn't capable of competing on the second night.
The silver lining is that Indy is also playing the ass end of a back-to-back tonight, and Mike Dunleavy is a starter for them.
- Jrue vs. Collison - Extra motivation and familiarity for Jrue. I think he has his first big game of the season tonight. It's going to have to be really big for this one to be a win.
- Iguodala vs. Granger - Granger possibly playing with a chip on his shoulder after he couldn't play his way onto the court for Team USA. Odds are Iguodala manhandles him no matter how motivated Granger is. Enjoy watching this matchup because odds are Granger will be nursing some minor injury the next time these teams meet.
- Hawes/Speights/Battie vs. Hibbert - Hibbert isn't at the point where he's going to eat a bad defensive center for lunch, but he's getting close. Indy would be wise to feed him the ball early and often.
- Threes - Indy loves to take the, can the Sixers defend them?
That should be enough to tide you over. The tip is at 8pm, game thread will go up at 6:30 and I'll be right here throughout. It may not be pretty, but it'll be fun (possible slogan to replace "Run With Us.")
Key indicators for game two will be up at 4pm.