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Open Game Thread: Pacers vs. Nets

The Nets have killed the Pacers in their previous meetings this year, so is there any hope for a W this afternoon? Of course there is. The Pacers have played well at home of late. Even with J.O. struggling on his gimpy knee (so gimpy there are now grumblings that he's set for surgery whenever the season ends), others have stepped up and found the range in the Fieldhouse. Plus, the Nets have secured a playoff berth so they may be inclined to ease it on home to stay fresh for the first round. Here's Bruno's preview. Not expecting Tinsley to play, but everyone else should be a go. Unless J.O. bursts out of his funk, I'm expecting to see a lot of burn for Ike Diogu today.

Here's another coaches on the hot seat piece that includes Carlisle. Sounds about the same as the rest aside from some supposed source close to J.O. giving his take.

Indiana Pacers. Someone has to take a fall in Indiana, and Rick Carlisle is clearly the choice, no matter how distasteful that firing would be to his close friend, Larry Bird.

More than one NBA advance scout insists that Carlisle lost his team at times this season. And his personality, difficult to say the least, doesn't help him win allies when times are tough. Jermaine O'Neal could have some say on the matter, and a source close to the Pacers star says he's ambivalent on Carlisle. He could take him or leave him.

If Carlisle somehow gets that eighth seed away from Orlando - and it's looking more unlikely with the Magic leading by two games with three to play - that momentum might be enough to bring him back next season. Otherwise, he's in trouble.

Personally, I think it will take more than a first round exit from the playoffs to save Carlisle, which doesn't leave many options.