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Open Thread: Regular Season Game 51 vs. Indiana Pacers


The Essentials:
Pacers (20-31) vs. Wizards (10-39)
6 p.m.
Verizon Center

This year:
December 15: Pacers 118, Wizards 98
Notable Pacers numbers this season:
19th in expected winning percentage (.427)
3rd in pace factor (96.9 possessions per game)
18th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (106.7)
18th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (108.9)

Key Links: (drop any others in the comments)
Indy Cornrows
Pacers Insider
Game Day Indiana
The Other Side: Pacers

Tonight's Starters
Wizards vs. Pacers
Player filling in for injured starter
PG T.J. Ford
Player filling in for injured starter SG Mike Dunleavy
Player filling in for injured starter SF Danny Granger
The Last Man Standing
PF Troy Murphy
Player filling in for injured starter C Jeff Foster

Tonight's Lines
Pacers at Wizards: Pacers by 5.5
Over/Under on Total Scoring: 212

This is going to be a little weird, but I'm going to forgo actually previewing tonight's opponent in lieu of covering a couple of lingering topics that I haven't had the time to talk about recently. Most of what I said in the game thread from the last match-up still holds true, so refer to that if you're interested.

  • Everyone and their mother knows that the Suns are shopping Amare Stoudemire and almost everyone has gone to their favorite trade checker to see what kind of deals they can make to bring STAT to their team. I admire Blatche4MVP's efforts to try and make a deal work with the Wizards, but I just don't think we have the right trade chips to make a deal with Phoenix. We don't have any big expiring contracts to offer and I don't think swapping a member of our Big 3 would work either.

    Jamison would be a good fit in that he wouldn't bring the ego issues that Stoudemire does and his style of play would bridge the gap between the Shaq and Nash and make everything more cohesive in the desert. But the bottom line is that the Suns would be trading for an older, less talented player that would stay on the books for a longer amount of time. If you were willing to do a Butler for Stoudemire swap (which I wouldn't do), you'd have to add in someone like Mike James or Darius Songaila to even out salaries, and then I'm not sure that Phoenix would still be interested. And if you were really crazy, you could always suggest a Gilber for Amare trade. But then you're dealing with a lot of variables and risks that I'm not sure either GM would want to deal with.

    So I'm going to go ahead and say that the Wizards are not in the running for Amare. But that might not be the worst thing in the world. He wouldn't solve the tax issues and he wouldn't improve the team's defense, so I'm not going to lose sleep over missing the chance to acquire him.

    One team you should keep an eye on though, is Cleveland. In exploring some potential trades for Amare, Chad Ford throws out a proposal that would send Wally Szczerbiak and J.J. Hickson to Phoenix for Amare. If you recall, Prada proposed an idea in the tax problem post about sending Jamison to Cleveland for those two players. I think you and I both know that if both of those offers were on the table, that the Cavs would take the Amare deal.

  • Even though the Wizards won't be making a deal for Amare, I get the feeling that Grunfeld will be making a move before the trade deadline. I don't think it will be for Mike James like some of you are hoping, but I think someone is going to moved between now and then. I've got nothing to back that up, but it I've got a good feeling that something is going to happen.
  • In a small programming note, I'd like to mention that the links section received a much needed makeover yesterday. All the links should go to the correct blogs now, and some blogs that have popped up recently have been added to the collection. If you have a link that you think should go on there, feel free to e-mail me. I can't guarantee that I'll add it (that's what we call "editorial discretion") but I'll consider it.

This is an open thread, so try to identify the Pacer in the picture at the top of the post in the comments.