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Pacers Not Ready To Mail Home Rest Of Season Just Yet

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While NBA teams have mastered the art of tanking their season away in hopes of landing better odds in the upcoming NBA draft lottery, the Indiana Pacers want nothing to do with it. Only 14 games remain before the Pacers get sent on vacation to watch the Playoffs from a seaside bed in the Caribbean. But that's not changing their attitude about winning.

Bruno reported yesterday that not only is coach Jim O'Brien set on winning as many as games as possible during the last few weeks of the season, but the players (especially the young ones) are determined to show they're better than how they've looked this season.

Jim O'Brien said, "I think it's important that this group grow as a unit and there's nothing like ending the season feeling like you're improving as a group, that there's hope going into next year that you can sustain winning. So I think it's very important that we win. If people that are paid to win basketball games think about anything else but winning basketball games, it would show a tremendous lack of integrity, so we don't deal with that. Our guys are into trying to win basketball games."

The basketball gods have a funny way of doing things. In an effort to keep the team out of the John Wall Sweepstakes once-and-for-all, Indiana's remaining schedule is easier than cake. Home is where the heart is and the Pacers will get 10 of their final 14 in the Fieldhouse. They'll play the likes of Detroit (twice), Washington (twice), New York, Sacramento and New Jersey.

Second-year center Roy Hibbert added that he was concerned only about creating chemistry and productivity with his teammates during the final weeks to help carryover to the summer and next season. "We're players and obviously we have pride and confidence in ourselves," Hibbert said. "Our record doesn't show it but we definitely want to win for ourselves. Whatever new pieces come in, you don't want to have that bad taste in your mouth to carry over into next year. So going off on a good note and winning, hopefully we can build off of that with the new people coming in next year."

Hopefully the basketball gods shine down upon us for having such great hearts for winning with pride, and give us a high lottery pick for the effort. Praying might help. Some more links after the jump.