The Pacers Will Defend Home Court, While the Lakers Desperately Need a Road Win

Saturday, March 2, 2019 3:17 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019 3:17 PM UTC

The Pacers hope to create more separation between themselves and the Magic, while the Lakers need a win against the lowly Suns to keep their playoff hopes alive.

 

Orlando (29-34 SU, 33-28-2 ATS) vs Indiana (41-22 SU, 32-30-1 ATS)

Saturday 7 P.M. ET

Free NBA Pick: Pacers ATS

Best Line Offered: Heritage

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The Magic are coming off Thursday's come-from-behind 103-96 home win over Western Conference-leading Golden State. In a 2-2 stretch, they also beat Eastern power Toronto, while losing to Chicago and the New York Knicks, two of the worst teams in the league. It's been one step forward, one step backward in the past four games, but Orlando's bigger picture is that it has won nine of its past 12 games, usually getting it done with defense.

The Magic have allowed 100 points or fewer in seven of those last 12 outings, putting themselves in the thick of the chase for one of the final playoffs spots in the East. Golden State was playing without Kevin Durant (rest) and Andre Iguodala (illness), but holding the high-powered Warriors to 96 points was still impressive. That defense helped the Magic rally from 13 points down early in the fourth quarter.

The Pacers have adjusted to life without star Victor Oladipo, who suffered a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee on Jan. 23 and is out for the season. Bojan Bogdanovic has stepped up since Oladipo went down. He averaged 23.1 points and shot 54.6 percent in February, which he capped with a season-high 37 against the Wolves. The 29-year-old is averaging a career-high 17.4 points per game this season (best among active Pacers), draining 42.6 percent of his 3-pointers.Indiana's victory came on the back end of a back-to-back set after it had lost in Dallas.

The Magic and Pacers have split two games this season -- both in Orlando. The Pacers won 112-90 on Dec. 7, with Orlando taking a 107-100 decision on Jan. 31. The Pacers are a superb 19-13 ATS at home this season and will look to keep up the winning ways against the Magic. Smart money should be bet on the Pacers at home.

Los Angeles Lakers (30-32 SU, 26-35-1 ATS) at Phoenix (12-51 SU, 26-37 ATS)

Saturday 9 P.M. ET

Free NBA Pick: Lakers ATS

Best Line Offered: Just Bet

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The visiting Lakers will try to continue their season-long success against the Suns when the teams meet in Phoenix on Saturday evening. The Lakers have won all three meetings against the Suns by double digits, most recently a 116-102 win in Los Angeles on Jan. 27. The Lakers are coming off a 131-120 loss against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, as they again failed in an attempt at winning two straight games for the first time since Jan. 15-17. Milwaukee, the top team in the Eastern Conference, didn't dominate Los Angeles, which even led by two points with 2 1/2 minutes left before fading. The loss dropped the Lakers 3 1/2 games back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 20 games left. Los Angeles has seen improvement in some areas of its game, however. The Lakers rank 28th in the NBA at 15.8 turnovers per game, but they finished in single digits for the second straight game.

The Suns are coming off a 130-116 home loss Friday night to the New Orleans Pelicans, ending their chance of producing just their second winning streak of the season. Phoenix won four straight from Dec. 13-19 but otherwise hasn't captured back-to-back games. Phoenix led by as many as 11 points in the first half and never trailed before the Pelicans outscored the Suns 38-27 in the third. The result was Phoenix's 18th loss in the past 19 games. The Suns snapped their 17-game losing streak with a 124-121 win at Miami on Monday.

The Lakers have had a lot more success in the second half of back-to-back games this season, winning six of nine, while the Suns have lost all nine. Phoenix is only 13-17 ATS at home this season and the way that the Lakers have dominate Phoenix this season, expect the, to go for the series sweep saturday night.

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