There is not much reason to feel sorry for a thug team, and face it, the Indiana Pacers, even without Ron Artest, and even with Peja Stojakovic, are a thug team. Yes, the failed career of Artest, along with injuries to a number of key players (Austin Croshere, where you been?), might elicit some sympathy for the Pacers, but not from these quarters. The Midwest Monsters are true rivals of the boys in black and red; the Heat might even end up facing them again this year in the playoffs. No mercy. The way these teams match up -- big and strong versus small but fast -- is the key. The Pacers have used nineteen different lineups this season, none of them for more than six games. Even so, the Heat lost to them in November. Losing to thugs is no good.
Mon., March 27, 7:30 p.m.