The Pacers' desperate actions 

The Indiana Pacers,

The Indiana Pacers, in a desperate move to salvage their season and possibly make the playoffs, have adopted a number of new last-minute strategies, including a pre-game ritual that includes the burning of sage in the locker room and the chanting of prayers originated by Franciscan monks in the 16th century. "We're trying out tried and true tactics," newly-appointed Pacers astrologician MaLadyia told the assembled reporters. MaLadyia, who apparently has no last name, turned toward the east and struck a small triangle with a metal stick, creating a small but resonating sound. "Along with Coach," MaLadyia continued, "I have developed a new starting lineup that adheres to the principles of feng shui." Thus, explained MaLadyia, the new starting five is comprised of feng shui-compatible players, based on a combination of blood type, astrological sign and bone density. She declined to reveal the actual starting lineup, promising a host of surprises for fans at tip-off time tonight. "You will note," she continued, "that the players are wearing crystals around their necks. This is to focus the chi. Also, their head- and wristbands will be layered with magnets in an effort to align their personal polarities with that of the opposing team in bi-perpendicularity to the ley line location of the Fieldhouse." Boomer the Mascot was replaced last week, the first of many controversial moves that MaLadyia has made since her appointment. The new mascot is Quextzelecalica, a beast that sports three heads: a lion, an eagle and an elk. While fans are accustomed to a rowdy mascot who whips the house into a frenzy of support, Quextzelecalica is more often observed to be in a trance-like state of meditation. MaLadyia cautions that it would be "dangerous to awaken Quextzelecalica from his/her reverie." Consequently the past two home games have been played in absolute, pin-drop silence. MaLadyia turned the Chicago Bulls from a bottom-dwelling team into a playoff contender in just one season; Pacers fans are hoping for an even quicker turnaround here. "Don't expect too much too soon," MaLadyia told reporters. "After all, this team's karma is beyond complicated; there are so many diabolical layers of mystery, not even my third eye can yet penetrate." She turned to the west, touched her triangle again, then cartwheeled out of the room.

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