(Programming note: Sorry about not posting this earlier. Unforeseen circumstances kept me from posting. This is the preview and the Open Gameday Thread.)
Pump Up Music: John Mellencamp -- "Authority Song"
The Big Picture: Danny Granger is out with an injury, so the Pacers' primary scoring options are Mike Dunleavy (ouch), Dahntay Jones (really?), and Troy Murphy (better at rebounding and stretching the D than actually being the focal point of the offense). I like Roy Hibbert as a starting center of the future a lot more than other people I know, but right now, he's still figuring things out.
Indiana's future is murky, especially since Tyler Hansbrough's plummeted back to earth after a surprisingly effective start (39% from the field on the season, but still rebounding well and getting to the line more than anyone on the team!), but they can only hope for so much success without Granger. They've lost 11 of their past 14 games.
Key to Victory: Granger's absence puts more of a defensive load on Jones, who will probably spend most of his time matched up on Stephen Jackson, while Dunleavy will be assigned to do battle with Gerald Wallace. I love this matchup for the Cats. With no Granger to push Gerald or Jax on both sides of the ball, none of our guys will be attacked down on a full court basis -- unless Jones goes off on offense, which is unlikely with S-Jax the defensive pitbull on him.
Detail That May Interest 100% of You: Rock Star Games was going to base its next Grand Theft Auto protagonist on Gerald Wallace, but decided against it after determining it would make the game too easy.