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Jermaine O’Neal thinks he can beat Mike Tyson

So the last time I predicted the outcome of a Pistons/Pacers game, I came up with this bit of genious:

But alas the Pacers, sans Jermaine O'Neal, shouldn't be much of a match for the Pistons either. So expect Delfino, Maurice Evans, and Carlos Arroyo to get plenty of court time tonight (for that matter, let's hope the game is far enough out of reach that we see some Darko, Dale Davis, and Jason Maxiell, as well).

The end result was a 93-85 Pacers win and a ruined Saturday night for me (and, by association, my fiance). At the time, the Pistons were amidst the back end of a road/road back-to-back, and the Pacers had been laying in wait with a few days of rest. While I still don't think that completely excuses the loss--after all, the Pacer's active roster that night looked like a CBA team--it must have played some role, right?

Not according to Jermaine O'Neal, who is perfectly willing to use that game to project the outcome of a potential Pacers/Pistons playoff series. According to today's Detroit News and Free Press, during the All-Star coverage on TNT, O'Neal told told Charles Barkley 1) that the Pacers match up well with the Pistons, 2) that he was hoping to face the Pistons in the first round of the playoffs, and 3) that if the Pacers were able to beat the Pistons while he was injured, you could imagine the result with him in the lineup. Flip, for one, doubts O'Neal really wants a piece of the NBA's best team.

"I think everybody, when you're the top team, a lot of teams, everyone says they want you," Saunders said. "I always say that usually when you speak out like that, usually it's the opposite. When you're saying you want something, usually you really don't want it. That's how it usually goes. The people that when they really want something usually you keep your mouth shut and hope that it happens and then take care of business. That's how it usually goes."

I have to agree with Flip. O'Neal has to know that a date with the inconsistent Heat or the marshmallow soft Nets in the first round would be a much preferable matchup for his Pacers than getting stomped by the Conference Champs.

Oh yeah, the title of the post. The first thing that popped into my mind when I heard O'Neal's comments was the Fresh Prince song "I think I can beat Mike Tyson." The Fresh Prince, like JO, had skillz. But no one--especially Iron Mike--was taking his words too seriously. And at least Will Smith was trying to make you laugh.

I doubt seriously that Iron Mike was too worried about the Fresh Prince.

O'Neal reheats rivalry [Detroit News]
Pistons corner: O'Neal may get what he wants [Free Press]
Lyrics to "I think I Can Beat Mike Tyson," by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince [lyrics.time]