Pacer update. Indiana slumped to 3-6 after their blowout loss in Milwaukee on November 14, but they've gone 10-5 over the past month including four wins in a row, leaving them just percentage points behind the Bucks for the 6th seed in the Eastern playoff race. With Danny Granger yet to play a minute this season and Roy Hibbert struggling to recapture his all-star form of a season ago (41.9% true shooting), 32-year-old David West has rediscovered his own all-star form in Indy, leading the Pacers with 17.6 ppg and a 20.6 PER.
Roy to the world. Hibbert had been coming around a bit of late before being forced to leave Sunday's win in Indiana with a thigh bruise, but he's still expected to be in the starting lineup tonight. It's been a tale of two ends for Hibbert so far this season: the former Georgetown star is blocking a career-high 3.0 shots per game and rebounding at a solid clip (15.9%), but he's converting an inexcusable 42% of his shots at the rim (vs. 57% last year) and just 39% overall.
Pacer D. The Pacers boast the league's stingiest defense thanks to a mathematical formula that's pretty straightforward: no team does a better job forcing misses (league-best 44.2% eFG%) and only the Warriors rebound a higher percentage of opponent's misses (75.2% DRR).
But the flipside to Indiana's stout D is its brick-laying offense. Frank Vogel's troops haven't cracked triple figures in any of their last 11 games, the product of ranking 28th in both offensive efficiency and pace.
Green...with no envy? Did anyone expect Marquis Daniels to outplay Gerald Green this season? Probably not, but that's easily been the case so far. After resurrecting his career in New Jersey last season, Green has hit just 36% of his shots as a Pacer while notching equally ugly advanced stats (7.6 PER, .029 WS/48, and 91/105 off/def ratings). Meanwhile, Daniels has hardly been a world-beater, but for a guy making the minimum? Tough to complain. The former Pacer has always had the defensive game to justify an NBA roster spot, but so far this season he's also flashing enough offensive game to claim a spot in the starting lineup, too. Daniels has posted a delightful .473/.571/.750 shooting split while averaging 10.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 2.5 apg in eight games as a starter.
Injuries. Here's some much-needed good news on the injury front: Mike Dunleavy appears ready to return. Andrew Gruman writes at Fox Sports Wisconain that Dunleavy practiced today and expect to go tomorrow:
"I had a good day at practice, it feels pretty good," Dunleavy said. "Hopefully I'll be able to play tomorrow night. Unless something acts up tomorrow after a full day of practice, I'm hopeful to play."
Meanwhile, it's been over two weeks since Beno Udrih went down with an ankle injury in Minnesota and there's still no indication of when the Bucks' backup point guard might return to the court.
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