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Open Game Thread: Pacers vs. Cavaliers

Here is Bruno's preview for the game tonight. He's pumping up Mike Dunleavy's solid play of late.

"I think I'm just getting more and more comfortable with what I need to do out on the court, with what's asked of me," Dunleavy said. "From a team standpoint, I'm just confident and being aggressive. Hopefully it will turn into more wins."

"You come into a new situation and you don't really want to mess things up or step on anybody's feet but after awhile you've got to step forward and try to do as much as you can. I think that's where I'm at and I'm going to keep trying to play well. I'm more comfortable with the whole system, where I can get my shots, how I can make plays. There's a lot less thinking and a lot more reacting."

I don't want to say, what took you so long, Mike, but WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG, MIKE? Things have been "messed up" for awhile now. Better late than never, plus I'd like to see MD sustain this level of play past the current two game stretch.

The Cavs and seem to have a better opinion of the Pacers than anyone I know following the team right now.

Hope is alive because the Pacers are starting to get healthy. Plus, the players acquired in a trade with the Golden State Warriors are becoming more comfortable with coach Rick Carlisle's system.
"Rick's a good coach, and he knows what it takes to get them ready and geared toward the playoffs," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "That's going to be a tough environment for us. We had a tough time down there last time, especially with Jermaine O'Neal, so we're going to have to make sure we do a better job down the stretch against a tough, well-coached team."

The Cavs expect to encounter a team playing with a sense of urgency. That would be nice. That sense of urgency has been needed for a few weeks now, but hasn't surfaced yet. I guess the Bulls game was played at a solid intensity level so we'll see if the Pacers can bring it again tonight. They're saying the right things.

Granger: "These last few regular-season games [have] given us a do-or-die mentality," said Pacers forward Danny Granger following practice Monday. "The Cavaliers know they're in the playoffs, and we're fighting for a spot. We have a playoff mentality right now."

J.O.: "This isn't an area we want to be in, but it's reality," said Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal. "We've put ourselves into this position, so now we have to do some things to get us out. We have to find a way over these next 13 games. We do have a tough schedule left, but every game is winnable if we do what we're supposed to do."

Results will speak much louder and a win tonight against the Cavs would make some noise.