Clippers-Pacers preview: No Hibbert helps
Clips Nation | Feb 28
The Pacers are the lone NBA team the Clippers have yet to play, and until Tuesday it looked like the timing was terrible. Indiana was not too intimidating early in the season, playing .500 ball over the first six weeks. But since then they've been as good as any team in the Eastern Conference that doesn't have LeBron James, and they've been especially sharp lately. Their only two losses in February both came in overtime. But on Tuesday night the Clippers caught a break, as the fight between Roy Hibbert and David Lee during the Pacers' win over the Warriors resulted in a one game suspension for the 2012 All Star. Even without Hibbert the Pacers will be a tough out, and after facing one of the worst defenses against the Bobcats on Tuesday, the Clippers will have a very different experience against the incredibly stingy Indy defense tonight. It's true that they won't have Hibbert protecting the rim, but the Pacers also have incredibly length on the perimeter and they make things very tough on opposing teams. Chris Paul will need to be sharper than he has been lately to help the Clippers' offense get going, but the big advantage for L.A. should come inside, where Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will be dealing with some combination of David West, Ian Mahinmi and Tyler Hansbrough, which is not the same as Hibbert. The Clippers bench should get a boost as well with the return of Jamal Crawford to the lineup. Eric Bledsoe may be back as well, but he'll likely be a game time decision.