Waiting on the Pacers vs. Celtics
The Pacers have to pick themselves up off the canvas after getting reality checked by the Pistons on Sunday night. The team's positive momentum came to a screeching halt as fast as you can say "'Sheed and Chief-Webb." What better tonic for what ails you than a visit from the Celtics? After all, the C's have lost eleven in a row and the focus around North Station has drifted to day dreaming about players named Oden and Durant.
So why would I never consider putting a penny or two on the Pacers tomorrow? Well, first of all you never say never with the '06-'07 Pacers. Secondly, the Celtics have played the Pacers tough, in fact the C's probably turned in their best performance of the year in November when they absolutely pounded the Pacers at the uh, Financial Institution of the Month Center. Of course, this isn't the same Celtics team. Paul Pierce has been out over a month and Wally Szczerbiak just returned. We all remember Tony Allen leaving the floor a few weeks ago which helped the Pacers escape Boston with a win in their last meeting. Notice I said escape, because the C's were coming up big again. Maybe it's the Larry Joe Legend factor with Boston, I don't know, but strange things seem to happen when these teams meet.
For all of my paranoia, the Pacers should take care of business on Tuesday night. If they want to play any factor in the Eastern Conference a game like this is a must win and should simply require a professional, workman-like effort to secure the W. Here's Bruno's preview:
- Ahem, Bruno mentions how the trade with the Warriors was more like bringing in six new players instead of four because of the emergence of Granger and Marquis. Man, that sounds familiar. Great minds think alike.
- Marquis Daniels remains day-to-day with knee tendinitis. Hopefully a couple of days off will have him ready to play.
- Bruno has some more interesting information his Caught in the Web piece. Bob Chaikin, a statistician with raw DBA skills and the premier NBA game simulator around, has determined that the Pacers' recent trade should be worth five extra Ws this year. Sounds good to me. I'd say the Pacers are about one up so far, so four more to go.
Chaikin took each personnel group, ran the numbers through 100 season simulations and came up with the average results. The old Pacers projected to an average finish of 40-42. The new Pacers, on the other hand, project to 45-37. By Chaikin's purely scientific calculations, then, the trade will be worth five more victories this season.
- Have you checked out Chaikin's bballsports.com site? Holy smokes! From Alaa Abdelnaby to Matthew Zunic (literally) he has all the numbers on all the teams and players, and I do mean all. Zunic, by the way, apparently averaged 5.8 points/game for Flint during the 1947-48 season. I mean, come on! Chaikin's gotta be making up some of these numbers! I've seen his work on 82games.com before so I know he's legit. Good luck dragging yourself aways from his site.
- Finally, some good is coming out of the Palace Brawl. JO's community service sentence has developed into a long term project with JO giving his time and effort to help out kids he worked with in East Lansing, MI.
"Fans sometimes think certain players do the community service just for the media coverage, but that's not me," O'Neal said. "We snuck in and snuck out when we did our community service last summer. I kind of grew a bond with some of the kids that were there. I just want to be a mentor."