The Pacers won a tough game in Detroit last night, but they've been priced as underdogs on the NBA odds board for tonight's home date with Boston. But is the smart pick to grab them to cover?
It's a little surprising to see the Pacers as home underdogs here tonight, but that's the situation we find; this being the second game in as many nights for Indiana against a rested Celtics team probably has something to do with it. Boston is favored by two points on the NBA Odds board, with a total of 204.5 available for action.
The Pacers finally earned their first win of the season last night in Motor City, fighting and clawing their way to a 94-82 win over the Pistons.
Indiana used a huge second quarter to take control, as they outscored Detroit 35-17, then following up by winning the third quarter (26-20) as well. The Pacers really locked in defensively, holding the Pistons to a paltry 38.4 percent shooting from the floor overall, and they were able to withstand a monster performance out of Andre Drummond, who had 25 points and 29 rebounds in his team's loss. For Indiana, Paul George had 16 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two steals, while Rodney Stuckey's 23 points and four rebounds off the bench really came in handy.
The bad news that came out of that win was the injury to Ian Mahinmi, who had to leave the game after just five minutes due to injury. Jordan Hill and Myles Turner figures to soak up extra minutes in his stead, though it was Hill, not the prized rookie, that got a majority of the court time following the early departure for Mahinmi.
It's been a relatively long wait for the Celtics, as they were last in action on Sunday in a home loss to the Spurs. They should be well-rested and prepared for this trip to Indiana.
In that loss to San Antonio, Boston didn't have an answer for LaMarcus Aldridge, and they were also held in check offensively for the most part. The Celtics could only muster up 87 total points on 35.7 percent shooting, and they were a dreadful 6-of-29 (20.7 percent) from beyond the arc in the defeat. Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Amir Johnson, Jared Sullinger and Isaiah Thomas all scored in double figures, but it wasn't enough against the well-oiled machine that is the Spurs.
Will Boston be able to bounce back out on the road this evening? Oddsmakers seem to think they'll be able to capitalize on the tired legs of Indiana. Coming into tonight, the Celtics are averaging 100.7 points per game (14th in the NBA) while surrendering 101.0 points (ranking them 15th), putting them right in the middle of the pack in both categories. Let's see if they rise to the occasion against George and the Pacers.
Yes, this is a tough back-to-back spot for the Pacers, but we still think they're undervalued for this home game against the Celtics.
Indiana has underachieved so far this season, but perhaps last night's win over a talented Detroit team will be the kick in the butt that they needed to turn things around. These Pacers should only get better and better as the season goes on, and they have to be encouraged with how George has been playing after that gruesome leg injury last year. Ellis figures to get more comfortable as time goes on too as he adjusts to his new surroundings.
So while the Celtics will have the fresher legs and have a lot of depth in their rotation, we think Indiana will be up for the challenge on their own floor tonight. With that said, we'll add them to our NBA Picks for Wednesday's full slate of action. Good luck!
NBA Pick: Indiana Pacers +2 (-105) at 5Dimes