THE `BURBS - You can't tell the Pacers are a long shot to make the $#@*&^&# (remember I said I wasn't going to say that word) by the way they've played lately.
You would have thought the Pacers were playing a $#@*&^& game against the Chicago Bulls as loud as Conseco Fieldhouse was in the fourth quarter. All the players were standing on the sidelines. The fans were standing. Larry Bird was even standing.
"There's never been a time in a game like this that I've ever thought our team felt like they were out of it," coach Jim O'Brien said after the game. "A great group of guys that really have a unbelievable desire to win and they have been able to will themselves to victories like this."
Somebody recently asked me about fan support at the fieldhouse.
I told that person it's been great for the most part because all the fans really want to see is a team that competes hard on a regular basis AND stays out of trouble off the court.
The Pacers have stayed out of trouble off the court and they've played hard for the most part this season.
--Josh McRoberts is trying to show he deserves to be mentioned with Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert when people talk about the future.
McRoberts tied his career high of 10 points in 18 minutes.
"He hasn't really played center at all," O'Brien said. "We wanted him to roll to the basket on pick-and-rolls and be able to space the court with Murph. We haven't had a chance to practice that and with Jeff being out decided it was a good time for him to go."
Here's what McRoberts said about his extended playing time.
"I try to be ready all the time," he said. "All of us guys at the end of the bench must be ready to get any opportunity that presents itself to play."
--Some of you have asked what's going on with Jamaal Tinsley's grievance case.
Don't expect anything to happen anytime soon. I hear it could be June before something is determined.
The Pacers have a big board in their practice facility that has every player on the roster and another board on the other end of the court with their upcoming opponent's roster.
Tinsley's name was on there early last week, but it was gone later in the week.
The Pacers have definitely done their best to distance themselves from Tinsley.
They shipped his belongings to him last summer, didn't put him in the media guide and wouldn't let him work out at the fieldhouse. All the parties involved want a resolution so Tinsley can try to resume his playing career.
--Mike Dunleavy told Pacers.com that he doesn't have a timetable on his return, which is what team officials have been saying since the surgery.
"There really isn't (a timeline) at this point," he told the website. "It's just too hard to say. It's a long-range recovery so to pinpoint when I'll be back jogging, running, playing, all that stuff, it depends on the prior steps. Believe me, I want to know as bad as anybody else but they can't give me that. So I just have to take it week-by-week and month-by-month.
"The way things have gone through the surgery and the first three weeks, it can't be going any better right now. The full expectation is that I make a recovery and I'll be better than before I had the bone spur in there. But you just don't know how it's going to turn out."
The uncertainty surrounding Dunleavy's return makes it even more important for Rush to continue to develop.