By Mark Montieth
The victories have been refreshing and encouraging, but Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien has retained a big-picture focus during his team's pre-season schedule.
Installing his offensive and defensive systems, resting some players and finding playing time for other players all remain priorities.
The regular season is all about winning," O'Brien said Wednesday afternoon before the Pacers' pre-season game against Memphis at Conseco Fieldhouse. "You can play horrible and win and still feel pretty good about yourself. The pre-season, you can play a great game of basketball and take two steps forward and lose and still feel you accomplished something."
That doesn't mean O'Brien doesn't feel good about the 3-0 record the Pacers take into tonight's game.
"I could never go in front of a team and say, 'OK, guys, it's an exhibition, it's not that important,' he said.
"We never talk about it being an exhibition. It's us against another team."
O'Brien said backup center David Harrison will continue to sit out to rest a sprained ankle. Jermaine O'Neal, who has a swollen knee, is expected to play.
Jamaal Tinsley, who flew to New York to attend a funeral on Tuesday, is expected to be available tonight.
O'Brien said he'll start holding players out of games over the weekend. The Pacers play Minnesota at Conseco Fieldhouse on Friday and follow with games at Chicago on Saturday and Minnesota on Tuesday.