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Open Game Thread #65: Pacers at Mavericks

The Pacers are in Dallas tonight trying to muster up a respectable run toward a playoff spot. For some strange reason, I feel good about the Pacers' chances tonight. The good feeling certainly doesn't come from looking at the numbers or the matchups. Can't explain it. Maybe it's the fact that I took the day off so my wife could visit a friend and I've been immersed in college hoops all day. Maybe the magical March feeling of new hope has overwhelmed my sense of reality.

Peter Vecsey continued floating Pacer rumors today by offering a little hope for Jermaine O'Neal's return to the court.

Jermaine O'Neal (out since Jan. 16; left knee) hopes to surprise the masses by showing up for duty any day now. He'll have a month at most to save the jobs of Larry Bird, Jim O'Brien and Quinn Buckner.
Maybe that's where the good feeling is coming from. Of course, Bruno offers up a little more reasoned analysis of the injury situation for J.O. and Jamaal Tinsley. Still, the door appears cracked open for a late return.

Again, here's Bruno's Scouting Report. Mike Dunleavy is listed as probable with the tender ankle. After touting his toughness yesterday, he's gotta go.

For a Mavericks' perspective, check out Mavs Moneyball.

Here's what the efficiency numbers say:
Team Pace Off.Eff. Def.Eff.
IND 96.1(3rd) 106.9(18th) 109.0(16th)
DAL 88.6(25th) 113.0(6th) 107.3(10th)


Projected Starters
PACERS pos. MAVERICKS
Mike Dunleavy F Josh Howard
Troy Murphy F Dirk Nowitzki
Jeff Foster C Erick Dampier
Danny Granger G Jerry Stackhouse
Travis Diener G Jason Kidd

Feel free to leave your thoughts on the game in the comments.