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Pacers 105, Heat 85: Pacers Take Care Of Business

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The Pacers took care of business at home against the Miami Heat, securing a 105-85 W. Here's Bruno's story on the game. Since the W had to be a given last night, the story is Jermaine O'Neal's return to the court.

Playing his first game since Jan. 16, O'Neal totaled 18 minutes off the bench and produced nine points, two rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot as the Pacers routed the D-League All-Star team posing as the Miami Heat, 105-85, Monday in Conseco Fieldhouse.

"It's great to have Jermaine back," said Coach Jim O'Brien. "I thought he played really well. He probably thought he was rusty but he did some good things at both ends of the court. He's such a specimen – his quickness, speed, size. We tried to build a whole plan around him and it's so nice to have him back on the court."

The most significant statistic of O'Neal's return was his plus-minus. The Pacers outscored the Heat by 16 points while he was on the floor.

"I think a couple, three more practices and I will be much better with my timing, shots and overall game," he said. "Mentally when you get back into the mix like this you just don’t want to interrupt the progress that we have made."
D-League All-Stars? Perfect. J.O.'s signature play came when he blocked a shot by Stephane Lasme's shot at the rim which led to Mike Dunleavy knocking down an open jumper at the other end. I know, it was Stephane Lasme, but hey, the comeback has to start somewhere.

So the Pacers collected their projected W last night, as did the Hawks (thanks for the effort Memphis, sheesh). Here's where the teams sit with Atlanta currently holding the final playoff spot. The W/L projections are updated with bolded W/L indicating games already played.

Team Record GB
Atlanta 34-40 --
New Jersey 31-43 3
Indiana 31-43 3


Indiana W/L Atlanta W/L New Jersey W/L
Miami W New York W Philly W
@ Boston L @ Memphis W @ Detroit L
@ Milwaukee W Toronto L Toronto W
Milwaukee W Philly L @ Cleveland L
Atlanta W @ Philly L @ Toronto L
@ Philly L @ Indiana L @ Milwaukee W
Charlotte W @ New York W Charlotte W
@ Washington L Boston L @ Boston L
New York W Orlando L
@ Miami W

Update [2008-4-1 17:40:30 by Cornrows]:Thanks pacers33 for keeping my English major math in check. Had to add an extra L to the Hawks. Now it really seems imposing.