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The Other Side: Indiana Pacers

Did you just ask me about the playoffs? You're kidding, right? (AP Photo/Rick Havner)

This is not a bad day to be in Indianapolis. You've got the NCAA Midwest regional final between Michigan State and Louisville at Lucas Oil Stadium at 2:20 p.m., and you've got the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. What? You don't think the Wizards and Pacers will be as thrilling as the NCAA Tournament? Don't you remember what happened the last time the Wizards played the Pacers?

In case you forgot, Caron Butler provided arguably the most thrilling finish of the regular season for the Wizards. Butler returned from the flu to score 15 consecutive points without missing a field goal, including the game-winner as time expired in an emotional, 119-117 win. The Pacers (30-43) lost more than a game that night at Verizon Center. They also lost forward Mike Dunleavy for the rest of the season with a right knee injury. Coupled with Troy Murphy's sprained MCL in his left knee, the Pacers will continue to play with improbable postseason hopes.

Indiana was in contention until a five-game losing streak earlier this month left the Pacers all-but mathematically eliminated. They won two in a row before a 112-106 loss in Chicago last night. Here's what else you should know about the Pacers as they prepare to host the Wizards tonight at Conseco Center:

1. Danny Granger Might Be Better Than You Think
I wrote about Danny Granger's remarkable path to become an all-star last month, but ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard went about explaining how Granger's all-star appearance was no fluke and that he truly is an elite player on a bad team. The article even uses a statistical argument to state that if Granger switched teams with Kobe Bryant, the Lakers wouldn't have a significant drop-off in wins (I don't know about all of that). Granger is the league's sixth-leading scorer, averaging 24 points since his return from an 11-game absence, but he'd rather have a few more wins.

2. The Pacers Are Bleeding Money And Might Move
In one of the more frank discussions about financial woes, Indiana Pacers co-owner Herb Simon said that his team has been losing money at an alarming rate the past three seasons. Simon said he doesn't want to move the team that he has owned with his brother, Mel, since 1983. But Pat Early, chairman of the board that runs Conseco Fieldhouse, said a move or a sale is a possibility because the team can no longer pay the $15 million operating costs and may lose $30 million this season.

3. Jarrett Jack Is Running The Show
To snap out of a five-game losing streak, Fort Washington, Md., native Jarrett Jack replaced T.J. Ford at starting point guard on March 21 against Charlotte. Jack led the Pacers to a 108-83 win with 31 points and had one of the greatest shooting performances in Pacers history. He made 13 of 14 field goals (92.9 percent) in a blowout win over Charlotte. It equals Reggie Miller's team record set in 1992 for the second-highest field goal percentage by a Pacer. CBS lead college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg set the team record, going 15-for-16 (93.8 percent) in a win over Golden State in 1985.

By Michael Lee  |  March 29, 2009; 2:28 PM ET
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Next: Wizards (17-57) at Pacers (30-43)


For those of you that know I bleed Carolina Blue, heres the matchup we been waiting on.

Playa' of Year last year, Hansbrough against Playa' of Year this year, Griffin.

Offense against Defense, but don't fool yourself, 'cause contrare' to popular opinion, them Tarheels know a thang or two about Defense too.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 29, 2009 4:15 PM

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 29, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

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