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Open Game Thread: Pacers vs. 76ers

The Pacers are in Philly tonight trying to keep pace with the Orlando Magic who beat Milwaukee last night to take a 1.5 game lead for the final playoff spot. Like the past two games, this game against the Sixers is the most important game of the season to date.

Check out coachk's diary for a solid Schindo analysis of the Sixers. The Pacers will have to earn this W and only need to look at the miserable month of March to be reminded that the Sixers came to Indy and stole a 100-96 W in their last meeting.

Don't forget to check out Bruno's preview. He brings up the point that 8 of the 15 players on the Pacers roster haven't been to the playoffs before and are grinding to get that opportunity. I guess you could say, the reason the Pacers aren't yet in the playoff picture is becauses they have 8 players who haven't been to the playoffs before. Sounds like they want, so we'll see just how badly they want it by how they go for it on the court. As I always say, words are nice, but actions and positive results are better.

[UPDATE: I want to include this story by Mark Montieth because it clarifies many questions I've had about how the "top 10" pick is determined. Looks like nothing is set until after the lottery.]

Because of last summer's trade with Atlanta that acquired Al Harrington, the Pacers get a pick in this year's first round only if they wind up with one of the top 10 selections. They can assure themselves of that by finishing with one of the seven worst records. They can also keep it by finishing with one of the 10 worst records and not getting jumped in the lottery, or by finishing 11th to 14th and moving up by getting lucky in the lottery. If they make the playoffs, they lose the pick.