Open Thread: Regular Season Game 81

The Essentials:
Pacers (35-45) at Wizards (42-38)
7 p.m.
Verizon Center

Notable Pacers numbers this season:
16th in expected winning percentage (.464)
3rd in pace factor (95.9 possessions per game)
18th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating
15th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating

Key Links (drop any others in the comments)
Indy Cornrows
Pacers Insider
Thoughts from G-Wiz on the Wizards' chances in the playoffs
Dominic McGuire is The Cleaner

Starting Lineups:
PG: Flip Murray
SG: Danny Granger
SF: Mike Dunleavy
PF: Troy Murphy Jermaine O'Neal
C: Jeff Foster Troy Murphy

PG: Antonio Daniels
SG: DeShawn Stevenson
SF: Caron Butler
PF: Antawn Jamison
C: Brendan Haywood

Tonight's Lines
Pacers at Wizards: Wizards by 4.5
Over/Under on Total Scoring: 212

Tonight's going to be a game that's as important as the Wizards want to make it.  I think everyone would understand if Eddie took the safe route and made sure that everyone is healthy going into the playoffs, but on the other hand, the 4th seed is still well within reach if the Wizards can take these last two games.  I'm going to align my thoughts with sierradave on how the Wizards should approach tonight's game:

Indiana is still alive in the playoff race.  They're going to be motivated tonight.  Cleveland is matching up with a Philly team that is struggling over position, and they're coming off a stinker yesterday where they actually trailed MIAMI going into the fourth! (tangent: watching that game, I found myself actually rooting for the Miami Heat.  Something broke inside of me in that moment.  I think it was my sense of childlike wonder.)

My point is that the smart money is on Philly winning at home tonight, but it's also on Indiana playing with a fire in their bellies.  I say monitor minutes, sure, but if Caron can play, he should suit up.  Let's put the pressure on Cleveland, let them sweat about a final game matchup with a Detroit squad that hasn't forgotten last year's playoffs.  Reaching the four spot is a stretch, but I think it's one this team should push for.

If it were a normal year, I'd guess that Eddie would probably rest his starters, but with Gilbert still trying to get back on the same page with everyone else, he'll probably try and keep it closer to normal.  That's just my guess though, which probably means that it's wrong and we'll be enjoying the Dominic McGuire experience tonight.  Only time will tell.

This is an open thread, so if you're planning on storming the court tonight, watch out for Jeff Foster:

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