At the Conseco Fieldhouse last night, the Pacers defeated the Chicago Bulls, 97-90, behind 38 points from Jalen Rose.
It's been rumored recently that Rose has had some disagreements with Pacers coach Isiah Thomas, even though Rose has publicly stated that he's happy in Indiana. He responded last night by shooting 13-of-21 from the field in 42 minutes.
Al Harrington (whose jersey I am currently wearing) added 16 for the Pacers as they improved their record to 21-16, one game behind Milwaukee for the lead in the NBA's weakest division by far, the Central.
Hey, doesn't matter to me how weak the Central Division is, standings-wise-- I'll take another Central Division championship banner up in the Fieldhouse to go with the 1994-95, 1998-99 and 1999-2000 ones we already have. Hell, the truth is that right now, there aren't very many teams in the East that have a better record than my Pacers-- the Nets, Celtics and Bucks, perhaps, but none of them are as playoff-tested as we are. And if the Sixers don't get off their collective asses soon, the 2001 Eastern Champions could be on the outside looking in come playoff time.
So, right now, as of today, the Pacers are my early pick to win the Eastern Conference-- all hometeam bias aside for the moment, and just looking at straight statistics and facts.
“Can we beat the Lakers?”
If Shaq gets injured, we have a very good chance, yeah. Dammit, CRZ, your Kings had better dispatch the Lakers in the playoffs, 'cuz I know the Pacers can beat the Kings. LOL... I'm just not convinced the Pacers can beat the Lakers. Not in a seven-game series, anyway. Not yet.
And that, as they say, is that.
2000 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Indiana Pacers
I'd switch Utah and Sacramento, to have Denver and Utah in the same division and Phoenix and Sacramento in the same division, but other than that it looks right to me. EDIT: According to Chad Ford on ESPNInsider.com this is the most likely scenario: