Indiana (22-12, won last five) @ New Orleans (9-27, won last one)
* 88.47 points per game (29th in the NBA) vs. 93.39 points allowed per game (10th)
* 43.6% FG (18th) vs. 44.6% FG allowed (17th)
* 42.31 rpg (15th) vs. 40.5 rebounds allowed (5th)
*20 apg (20th) vs. 15.28 TO pg (21st)
* 95.71 ppg (13th) vs. 92.12 points allowed (8th)
* 43% FG (22nd) vs. 42.6% FG allowed (8th)
* 44.35 rppg (4th) vs. 42.28 rebounds allowed (19th)
* 17.88 appg (28th) vs. 14.77 TO pg (13th)
PG-Darren Collison vs. Jarrett Jack
SG-Paul George vs. Marco Belinelli
SF-Danny Granger vs. Trevor Ariza
PF-David West vs. Gustavo Ayon
C-Roy Hibbert vs. Chris Kaman
New Orleans-Greivis Vasquez, Al-Farouq Aminu, Solomon Jones
Indiana-Tyler Hansbrough, A.J. Price, Dahntay Jones, George Hill
Injuries of note
New Orleans-Jason Smith (concussion, day to day), Trevor Ariza (illness, day to day), Emeka Okafor (knee, day to day), Carl Landry (knee, out), Eric Gordon (knee, out)
Indiana-Jeff Foster (back, day to day)
Prediction: Pacers 98, Hornets 89
One of the reasons New Orleans was able to keep things so close last time was that they shot over 60% in the first half, including 70+% in the first quarter. That realistically shouldn’t happen again, even if the Pacers are laid back on defense. Still, with Indiana’s brutal schedule looming, they can’t overlook the gritty Hornets. Paul George is hungry, Danny Granger seems to be getting his edge back and Darren Collison may be motivated by all the trade talk. Indiana should put this one in the bag.
Jack has reclaimed his starting job, and is a sleepy fantasy option normally, but a great one vs. Indiana. It’s possible that he’ll replicate his double-double off the bench from last time. You’d think Aminu would have capitalized on his starting opportunity last night, but he was relatively quiet, scoring 6 points to go with 8 rebounds on 25 minutes. Don’t get cute with him, even if Ariza can’t go. Granger and George should easily lock him down.
We’re still waiting for Paul George to gain some consistency, but this post-All-Star stretch may be the time. He’s scored in double figures in 7 of his last 8, has a combined 17 blocks/steals over his last five, and a combined 46 assists/rebounds over that same span . He’s a stat-stuffer who should now be universally-started. Hibbert was on a roll with three straight double-doubles before playing just 20 and 21 minutes in respective blowout wins vs. Charlotte and Golden State. Expect this one to be a little closer, and start Hibbert with confidence as you normally would.
Lucas Klipsch likes his game previews with a side of custom Jack Daniels meat SAUWCE! Follow him on Twitter @LukeNukem317