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Pacers 114, Supes 107: Pacers Close One Out

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The Indiana Pacers haven't found many favorable matchups lately, but Tuesday night the Seattle Supersonics provided one and the Pacers took advantage to secure the home W, 114-107.

This wasn't the most inspiring win in franchise history, but I'm not complaining about the quality of wins at this point. There were times when this game had the feel of a pre-season tune up. Maybe it was just my personal mood, but I didn't sense much excitement as the Pacers closed out the game in the fourth.

The Supes are real young and rely heavily on that youth. The Pacers did exactly what they needed to do, which was take advantage of their experienced talent to methodically work for good shots. The shots weren't always falling, in fact the Sonics shot better than the Pacers, but the Pacers were able to get more shots up and work their way to the line.

Once again, Mike Dunleavy and Danny Granger led the offense for a Pacer win. Tonight the duo combined for 55 points with Dunleavy finishing the night with 32. After a twisted ankle hobbled him in the first half, Dun fought through it to score 18 second half points.

Troy Murphy continued his outstanding contributions of late, pumping in 19 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Murphy has scored double-figures in the past 11 games and 18 of the last 19. Murph makes a real nice third scoring option when Danny and Dun have it going.

Travis Diener didn't have his best shooting night, only making 1 of 6 3-balls. Fortunately, Diener's value is no longer judge solely on his shot. He did manage 11 points, but more importantly had dished out 9 assists and 0 with a 'Z' turnovers. Travis also dished on his teammates, revealing the nicknames he's labeled on them. Personally, the nicknames could use a little work, but I like the effort.

David Harrison was nice and active off the bench, causing problems in the paint for the Supes and blocking 6 shots along the way. David's status is day-to-day as he continues to walk the line between productive contributions and emotional meltdown. But for tonight, his contributions were big, so we have to take it when we can get it.

One area where the Pacers struggled was in transition defense. The Supes like to run and they ran past the Pacers several times. In fact, the outscored the Pacers 28-8 in fast-break points. Several of those fast-break points were aided by the Pacers being slow to react in transition.

So, the Pacers' win tonight puts them 1.5 games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. My distinguished colleague Matt at Blog-A-Bull referred to the Bulls' effort to make the playoffs as, "...the lamest playoff push in history." Well, the Pacers have tucked into the draft of that lameness right behind the Bulls. Yes, the schedule favors the Pacers but they'll have to play better against better teams if they want to finish this strange season on a positive note.