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Open Game Thread #79: Pacers at 76ers

The Indiana Pacers are in Philly tonight to continue their last ditch drive for a playoff spot. I projected this game as a loss which would be a death blow to the playoff shot unless the Knicks rise up and beat the Hawks tonight. Yeah, it will be a death blow. I'm real excited about the way the Pacers have played lately and the attitude and effort they've put forth, but reality keeps me from getting too excited. Yes, the Pacers are 9-3 in their last 12 and won 11 games since the first of March. Only problem is that none of those 11 wins are against teams with a record over .500. That could change tonight since Philly has snuck over .500 with their own late run of success.

One positive to cling to is that the Pacers are a different team since Jermaine O'Neal has returned. His minutes are limited and play isn't dominant, but he's a heck of a boost to be coming off the bench. The Pacers have had a couple of days off to catch their breath, so focus and energy level shouldn't be a problem tonight in Philly.

Here's Bruno's Scouting Report which focuses on the improved defense of late which has been key to the Ws piling up. Yeah, I'm getting pumped for this one.

While waiting for the tip, here's a little support from CelticsBlog for the Pacers making the playoffs.

Here's what the efficiency numbers say:

Team Pace Off.Eff. Def.Eff.
IND 95.9(3rd) 108.0(18th) 109.2(15th)
PHI 89.4(20th) 107.5(20th) 107.4(9th)

Projected Starters
Mike Dunleavy F Reggie Evans
Jeff Foster F Andre Iguodala
Troy Murphy C Samuel Dalembert
Danny Granger G Willie Green
Flip Murray G Andre Miller

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