Game 60 - vs Indiana

This Ron Artest is exhausting and infuriating, so I'm going to try to focus on basketball for the time being.

The truest irony is sports occurs tonight, though, as the Pacers enter ARCO. David Foster Wallace couldn't have dreamt this one up any better.

Luckily for the Kings (and by extension, us) it's the 2007 Indiana Pacers who visit, a team which hasn't exactly impressed a lot of people. They bring the #27 offense to town, a putrid shooting bunch whom ESPN's John Hollinger has as the 4th worst team in the league despite their .500 record.

Indy's D - the #9 unit in the league - features a good defensive frontline, good rebounders throughout the roster. Their weakness is in stopping effective perimeter players - shooters and mid-range slashers. Huh, fancy that: Kevin Martin and Mike Bibby had great games in Indianapolis last week.

Thus, the single game of the near future where Artest's playing presence matters not. Good timing.

Business time:

STARTERS:

SACRAMENTO
PG - Can't complain because the outcome was never in doubt, but Mike Bibby didn't play so hot Saturday night in Portland. The Kings don't typically survive his awful nights, and with Ron Artest out, they won't be able to do so in the future either.
SG - Since Kevin Martin has exceeded all expectations thus far, how about we get crazy? Can Kevin score 50 in a game sometime this season? Two more Phoenix games, another Golden State matchup, once more with Denver...
SF - John Salmons, off the bench: 43%, 6.7 ppg in 24 min. John Salmons, as a starter: 49%, 12.6 ppg in 34 min. And he's not a long step behind Artest on defense.
PF - Eric Musselman had a quick leash on Kenny Thomas a week ago in Indiana, with The Poodle only racking up 16 minutes. More, please.
C  - It looks like the Brad Miller roller-coaster ride isn't over yet: After great games against Philly and Charlotte, B-52 took two games over the weekend to earn 14 pts, 10 assists, and 9 rebs. In 64 minutes. Ugh.

INDIANA
PG - Pressure defense anyone? Jamaal Tinsley might be the worst point guard ball-handler in the league. Also, he's among the worst shooters in the league this season (FG% lower than Bibby's), he takes tons of shots, and he could sprain an ankle taking a piss and no one would be surprised. Other than that, he's great!
SG - Mike Dunleavy might be better off having the ball in his hands for Indiana, if the Pacers used any sort of trickery or motion on offense. As it is, he's woefully miscast with this team and he makes twice as much as John Salmons.
SF - Danny Granger, however, is a nice match for Jermaine O'Neal as an inside-outside scorer with quickness and strength. And he's well on his way to eclipsing The Poodle on the New Mexico alums leaderboard.
PF - Jermaine O'Neal has slipped noticeably the last two years, and he's still by far one of the best bigs in the East. I think he'll get traded sometime soon, and I think he'll make some fanbase pretty happy.
C  - Jeff Foster is going the way of Brad Miller (glue factory), except Foster can still rebound the hell out of the ball.


THE LINE:
The Kings are 4.5-point favorites. I think they are the better team by a margin substantially more than 4.5 points, even with Ron out. I would take the Kings here.

PLAYOFF/LOTTO WATCH:
The Kings are 1.5 games behind the Clippers for the eighth seed, with New Orleans also in their way.

The Kings have the 11th worst record in the league.

PREGAME HAIKU:
Player of the week?
Pssh. We've known all along how
good Speedracer is.

7pm start, enjoy!

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