View Full Version : Pacers Welcome Warrior Mentality {Pacers.com 01/20/07}

01-20-2007, 12:03 PM

Pacers Welcome Warrior Mentality

By Conrad Brunner | Jan. 20, 2007
<hr> <table align="left" bgcolor="#e1e5f0" border="1" bordercolor="#00204e" cellspacing="0" width="125"><tbody><tr><th bgcolor="#00204e"> Tonight's Game</th> </tr><tr><td font="" color="#00204e"> <table align="left" width="50"><tbody><tr><td>http://www.nba.com/media/ind_50px.gif</td></tr></tbody></table> <table align="right" width="50"><tbody><tr><td>http://www.nba.com/media/nyk_50px.gif</td></tr></tbody></table>
<center><small>PACERS vs. KNICKS
7 p.m., Home
TV: FSN-Indiana
Radio: WIBC 1070-AM </small></center></td></tr></tbody></table> The schedule, finally, turns in the Pacers' favor. The challenge for Coach Rick Carlisle and his staff is to get what is essentially his second new team of the year ready to capitalize on it as quickly as possible. Beginning with tonight's game against the Knicks, 14 of the Pacers' next 17 games will be played at Conseco Fieldhouse. No team in the NBA has played more than their 23 road games to this point. To take full advantage of the opportunity, new faces Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy and Ike Diogu must be woven into the team fabric as quickly as possible.

Those three, acquired Wednesday from Golden State, are expected to make their Indiana debuts tonight. The fourth player acquired, point guard Keith McLeod, will be inactive with a groin strain. Carlisle said Friday he hadn't made his final decision about the starting lineup but was leaning toward leaving Marquis Daniels and Danny Granger in the shooting guard and small forward slots.

The new players had two workouts on Friday, one as a group with the Pacers' younger players to get introduced to the system and one with the full team. Carlisle, who has become expert in making major midseason adjustments, has not only simplified the offense but tweaked its focus.

"We certainly want to able to do some things off of flow," Carlisle said. "We set up to be a better movement team than weve been because guys like Murphy and Dunleavy and Diogu play well in that type of environment. This should be an easy group to integrate based on those things."

Murphy said being traded in a large group should also help smooth the transition.

"It makes it a little easier, coming here and getting traded, to have three other guys that you know and three other guys that you played with coming out here and going through the same thing," he said. "It helps and we can lean on each other to kind of get acclimated to Indiana."

How quickly that transition can be made could be crucial to the Pacers' regular-season success. If they struggle through this home stretch, they'll run into a maddening March that brings eight of 11 on the road.

"The challenge is to integrate the new guys and keep improving the team on a day to day basis, and obviously to win," Carlisle said. "It becomes a more favorable schedule in terms of home games and so forth and there is some better spacing but we have some good teams coming in. New York is playing well, Chicago is playing well, Miami again who has been playing a lot better lately, so were not going to make the mistake of thinking its an easy schedule."

The Knicks (17-24) are coming off consecutive one-point losses. Washington's Caron Butler dunked with 2.2 seconds left for a 99-98 win Wednesday, and New Jersey's Clifford Robinson tipped in the game-winner in a 101-100 verdict Friday. Even so, they've gone 8-7 in their last 15 games, including victories over Utah, Detroit and Chicago.

When Marquis Daniels scored 23 points with five assists in Miami Thursday; in his only other three starts of the season, he totaled 14 points and five assists. Jeff Foster scored more points in 6 minutes of the fourth quarter in Miami (12) than he had in any game this season. Foster's season-high 14 points in that game represented his first double-figure scoring since Nov. 29 at Golden State. Danny Granger has averaged 17.4 points and 7.4 rebounds in the last five games. Jamaal Tinsley has shot 60-of-182 (.330) overall and 11-of-45 (.244) from the arc in the last 14. The Pacers have shot 49-of-175 (.280) from the 3-point line in the last 10. The defense has allowed 108.0 points and .490 shooting in the last three. <hr>KEY MATCHUP

The Knicks have a stable of guards that can explode at any moment, the most dangerous of which is Jamal Crawford, the team's second-leading scorer (16.7) as a reserve. He's been in a slump of late, shooting .297 in the last four games, which just means he's due to break out. If Crawford doesn't erupt, Quentin Richardson and Stephon Marbury are equally capable. The Pacers have struggled with their perimeter defense all season and can't afford to let the Knicks' guards get loose. <hr>SERIES

The Pacers have won the last three meetings, including two this season. Indiana won 109-95 on Nov. 4 in New York and 112-96 on Dec. 15 at Conseco Fieldhouse. Granger scored 25 points off the bench in the second game. This is the final meeting of the season. <hr>INJURIES

Pacers - C David Harrison (sprained left shoulder) and G Keith McLeod (groin strain) are out.
Knicks - G Steve Francis (right knee tendinitis) is out.