LA Lakers (14-1) at Indiana Pacers (6-10)
Pacers aren't quite as bad as their overall record would suggest... well, at least at home. At the Fieldhouse, they're 4-4. Still not dazzling... but better than their record. The face of the franchise for so many years - oft-injured Jermaine O'Neal - now finds himself sporting a Raptor jersey. When he actually makes it on to the hardwood. So, who are they now? Well, beyond Danny Granger, they're simply not that much of anything. As their roster stands now, 6-10 flatters them.
The Lakers coming to town begins a torrid stretch for the Pacers. Lakers, at Boston, at Cleveland, Boston, at Toronto, at Detroit... then even the at Milwaukee these days is a tough game.
The Indiana Pacers have travelled a very long way since the days of yore when cries of "MILLER TIME" echoed through the Fieldhouse... and distance from that time hasn't treated the franchise kindly.
Now? Danny Granger's looking the goods, and Marquis Daniels can be good. TJ Ford looks a mere shadow of who he was in Toronto. The Raptors must look at the current performance of the two point guards they had last year (Ford/Calderon) and smile a self-congratulatory smile. It would be a smirk if not for their own performance issues.
The Pacers would kindly take Reggie Miller back with loving arms, even at age 43. And it's more than likely that even if Indiana could get him to play at that decrepit age, he'd perform at a level beyond most of the Pacers roster.
And Indiana's opponent, the Lakers of Los Angeles. Of statistics not telling full stories, LA has one as well. Sure, they lead the league in points scored differential at nearly 14 per, but that's largely misleading. As often as not, the starters will be polishing pine during the 4th. Neither Bryant nor Gasol play even 35 minutes, but every other player plays less than 30. Such is the depth this team possesses.
One of the more interesting characters in Australian sport was football coach Allan "Yabby" Jeans. He was famed for his dour character, and sporting cliches. One such is applicable here: "Every win is just one game closer to a loss." Definitely a truism, albeit seeming somewhat obvious. But the message he sends is necessary for teams that win a lot (as his did): stay grounded.
That loss is more than likely to occur on the road, and the game at Indiana is the beginning of a 3 game roadtrip for LA. Indiana, Philadelphia, Washington. The target's firmly painted on LA.
LA by 5.
Will be happy to talk about this game either here, or on the forum.