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Waiting on the Pacers vs. Sixers

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In the midst of a seven game losing streak , the Pacers season is in a free fall. But they're in the Eastern Conference so they're still in position to make the playoffs. But even thinking about the playoffs at this time is ridiculous. The team just needs to win...badly.

If you think a Saturday night visit from Philly is just what the doctor ordered, you better think again. After pounding the Lakers Friday night, the Sixers have won six in a row. Add to that the fact that J.O. will not be playing and avoiding that eighth loss in a row is going to be difficult.

Mark Montieth's article in today's paper, Pacers befuddled by funk, doesn't offer any positive vibes indicating that the team is ready to start winning again. There is a great point about mid-season trade results that could be reason for hope, though.

CEO Donnie Walsh has seen struggles similar to what this team is experiencing after his previous major in-season trades.

The Pacers won eight of 12 games shortly after the seven-player swap with Chicago in 2002 that brought Ron Artest and Brad Miller, but later lost seven of nine.

They won four straight after getting Mark Jackson back from Denver in 1997, then lost seven of their next nine. They won four straight after separate trades brought in Detlef Schrempf, LaSalle Thompson and Randy Wittman in 1989, then lost six of eight.

"When you make a trade with three or four players involved, it's like 20 percent of your team," Walsh said.

"That's why you don't like to do that in the middle of the season. Everybody else has gone through the preseason and you're almost starting over again.

"The only thing you can do is not give in to it and keep fighting. Then all of a sudden, boom. You're not sure when, but you start winning."

Here we are, waiting for a boom and a glimmer of hope.