Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers at Charlotte


Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers at Charlotte

SCOUTING THE PACERS: Though they already have clinched the first tie-breaker by winning the first three games of the season series, there's no shortage of motivation for the Pacers (31-40). The Bobcats (28-41) are lurking, along with the Bucks, two games back in the race for eighth place – just one in the loss column. Another victory would effectively eliminate Charlotte from contention. Two of the three games have come down to the final possession with the ball in Stephen Jackson's hands. On Feb. 9 in Conseco Fieldhouse, Jackson missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer that would've won it for the Bobcats, who lost 104-103 and thought Darren Collison fouled him on the shot but no whistle was blown. On Oct. 29 in Charlotte, Jackson missed an open look from the top of the key that would've tied it as the Pacers escaped, 104-101.

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS: Though Charlotte has lost three in a row, all were on the road against quality opponents (San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Houston). Even so, any hopes the Bobcats have of climbing into the playoffs rest with this game. The Bobcats traded away the Pacers' chief nemesis, Gerald Wallace, who averaged 25.7 points on 54 percent shooting in three matchups with Indiana this season. Gerald Henderson has replaced him in the lineup and performed well, averaging 14.3 points in the last 15 games. Jackson, who missed the last game in San Antonio with a hamstring strain, has been in a slump, shooting 12-of-46 in his previous three games. Former Indiana University standout D.J. White has come to life since being dealt to Charlotte, averaging 10.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in his last nine games.

KEY MATCHUP: Though he is listed as a game-time decision with a left hamstring strain, it's reasonable to presume Jackson will do everything in his power to take the court against his former team, and there's every chance he'll have the ball in his hands with the game on the line in the closing seconds.

QUOTE MARKS: "It's huge. We've got a chance to really put them at a disadvantage. ... It would be like a four-game lead with only 10 to go. It's a great opportunity for us." -- Vogel

INJURY REPORT: For the Pacers, Mike Dunleavy (broken left thumb) is out. For the Bobcats, Stephen Jackson (left hamstring strain) and Garrett Temple (left ankle sprain) are game-time decisions; Joel Przybilla (sore right knee) is day-to-day; and DeSagana Diop (ruptured right Achilles tendon) is out.

BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Clark Kellogg calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 6:30. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Austin Croshere, with Kevin Lee reporting.

INTERACT: You can chat live with fans around the country in our live game blog which begins at tipoff.