Gamethread: Indiana Pacers (33-7) at Phoenix Suns (23-17), 8:30pm tip, ESPN


Big game on a big stage: ESPN, best team in the league, Suns trying to show they belong in the playoff picture.

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We got ourselves a national game tonight, folks!

Hornacek pregame:

  • "Everyone's good [healthy]. It's ESPN, I think they'll all be good."
  • "Sometimes the guys in these games get too excited. Let's see if a lot of their shots are long, that's a sure sign we need to settle those guys down a little bit."
  • "I think our guys enjoy playing the big games."
  • (on Plumlee) "He's pressing a little bit. He's another guy on our team that when he's got going great, or up to his standards, he's been working. Trying to work through it."
  • (on whether Plumlee hit a wall) "Well, to say a rookie wall, you're saying a guy is dead tired. I don't think Miles is that. He'll bounce back. He's a good player."
  • (on Indiana): "They've got a whole team of good guys. You can't look at one matchup."
  • (on style, slow vs. fast): "Obviously, we're going to try to get into the open court, but I don't know if you can get them into that style. They're very good at slowing it down. We'll try our best but thinking that it's not gonna happen as much as we want, we have to execute in the half-court. Penetrate, bring guys to you and kick out. We're going to have to be quick with our decisions."
  • "Leandro does a lot of similar things to Eric in terms of his penetration and his ability to break the down on a pick and roll. That's been helpful. We need everyone to just step it up, and not think LB's taken Eric's spot and everything's fine. I think we need it more defensively. Our defense has been okay at times but not as good as it was when Eric was in."
  • "We run a lot of pick and rolls anyways, but we might try more from different angles to get them to trap a little more."

Indiana head coach Frank Vogel pregame quotes:

  • (on Plumlee, surprised?) "Not at all. We drafted him knowing he would be this player. We would have been happy getting out of it with just giving a pick or something like that. We always felt he would be a very productive player."
  • "Everyone on this team is capable of carrying a bigger load than they are going to carry this year. But the value of individual sacrifice to enhance the team's success is what this year is all about."
  • (on Suns): "They are playing together. Give coach Hornacek a lot of credit. They are playing extremely hard and well organized and playing for each other."
  • "Teams like this are the most dangerous. They play the high offensive efficiency game, the threes, the rim-twos, limiting the low OER [offensive efficiency rating] long twos. They're the most efficient offensive teams. The teams that play fast like this team does, they're the most dangerous."
  • "I've always felt, even when [Goran Dragic] was in Houston, he's one of the toughest guards to defend in the league. I think he's an elite offensive point guard, especially when you put as many shooters as you have around him. I've always been very impressed with his offensive game."
  • (on Channing Frye): "He and Ryan Anderson are two of the best spread fours in the game. The way he spaces the floor, can knock down a couple of threes and put your whole defense's nervous system on tilt. They get a little over aggressive, and that just frees up driving lanes for him and other people. He's a big part of what they're doing."

As I said in the preview, the Suns will likely have to go small with Frye spreading the floor to negate Hibbert a bit. He and Dragic and Barbosa are the big X factors this game to help the Suns to a win.

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