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What a delicious point guard dilemma the Indiana Pacers have. It's one other teams around the NBA surely envy.
They have four men -- Jamaal Tinsley, Kenny Anderson, Anthony Johnson and Jamison Brewer -- capable of running the team with the NBA's best record. Yet there are barely enough minutes for two of them.
It's a luxury the Pacers have used to their advantage all season, as all four have started games.
It was Anderson's turn Wednesday night, when the Pacers clinched the Central Division title and the Eastern Conference's top seed in the playoffs with a 111-78 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Starting in place of Tinsley, who missed his second consecutive game with the flu, Anderson directed the Pacers' attack with the efficiency expected from a 13th-year veteran.
He finished with 10 points -- one of seven Pacers to score in double figures -- five assists and didn't turn over the ball.
[size=18:e567d82cca]Not bad for a guy who six weeks ago, right before the Feb. 19 trade deadline, was on the verge of fleeing a tough situation.
"(Team executives) Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird came to me and gave me the option of being traded, and that was big of them because they didn't have to do that," said Anderson, who started for the first time since a Dec. 23 win at Houston. "It was Detroit and Toronto, and Detroit . . . I was leaning that way. My agent called me like two hours before the deadline and asked me what I wanted to do.
"But I told him, 'I'll stick with (Pacers coach) Rick (Carlisle), because regardless of how the year was for me, that's my man.' He's a good man and a good friend of mine, and that's why I'm here. I've got the utmost respect for him and whatever he decided to do, I was going with him."
His loyalty to Carlisle didn't make the 45 games between starts any easier to stomach. But Anderson knew being professional rather than pouting was the only logical path.[/size]
"Jamaal is young, been here three years and things were going well when he was playing," Anderson said. "Things were going well when I was playing, but they felt that (Tinsley) was the route they wanted to go. So I just decided I was going to stay here and stick it out. Sometimes, when things aren't going the way you want them to, you think a change will make everything better. But that's not always how it works."
Carlisle praised the professionalism of all his point guards. After all, Tinsley was the third man when Anderson was the starter and Johnson his backup.
Carlisle also acknowledged his history with Anderson -- he was an assistant with New Jersey when Anderson entered the league -- as helping them through a sticky situation.
Carlisle stopped short of saying Anderson's resurgence -- he scored a season-high 14 points off the bench in Tuesday night's loss at Milwaukee -- has changed the playing rotation again.
With Tinsley a "long shot" to play Friday against Toronto and Johnson's play in relief of Anderson on Wednesday -- 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-6 on 3-pointers -- tweaking would seem reasonable.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it . . .," Carlisle said. "Right now, we're in a great position, because we have all four guys."
what i found surprising is that pacers were willing to help a rival (pistons), when the pistons could clearly use another pg after losing chucky atkins. don't they consider pistons a threat? or are they willing to put kenny anderson's interest ahead of the team's?
trading to toronto is one thing, trading to detroit is another. really weird.