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Pistons 96, Pacers 80: Big Easy Win For Pistons

Well, that was interesting. Check that, it wasn't very interesting at all. The Detroit Pistons ran a scrimmage on the short-handed Pacers, cruising to a 96-80 win without seeming to break a sweat.

There was part of me that hoped the Pistons would overlook the Pacers tonight. I banked on human nature kicking in with the Pistons, as they realized the Pacers were short-handed and looked forward to All-Star break plans, maybe, just maybe, the Pistons would lose their focus.

Those hopes were dashed quickly when the Pistons just went to work at both ends of the floor. Human nature had no chance since the Pistons were like a machine running through their task list on both ends of the floor. The Piston offense was spread beautifully, orchestrated by Chauncey Billups, and diced up the helpless Pacer defense. There was no doubt in the collective mind of the Pistons that they could execute their system for an easy bucket at the hoop or an open jumper from the perimeter. It really was like a scrimmage at times.

The game finished at 16 but only because garbage time went the Pacers' way. This was a sound whipping by an elite team over a wounded, struggling team gasping for the All-Star break.

No since in breaking down the details of this game. The Pistons could put any combination of their top ten players and handle the best the Pacers had to offer tonight. This is no indictment of the Pacers' effort, simply a compliment to how strong and efficient the Pistons are at this point.

So, here we are at the All-Star break. The Pacers are 21-32 and stunningly in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Despite Jamaal Tinsley's comments off the record, the Pacers think he may be back next week. They also think Jermaine O'Neal could return next week. Trade rumors will be numerous, but I think both will have to play past the trade deadline to develop any sort of value. That should take us until the summer before any major changes are made. Until then, we might as well enjoy the remainder of the year.