Do the Pacers stand any chance of making this game competitive as they face the defending champion San Antonio Spurs? Find out who we like as our betting pick.
Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 pm ET tonight at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
NBA Odds Currently Unavailable
The NBA odds are finally starting to come out and Bookmaker Sportsbook lists the Spurs as a 12 point betting favorite while no total is currently available.
Duncan vs Mahinmi
That's all that you really need to know. This game could be over very early with the Spurs 2nd stringers in the game. If Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich feels a blowout coming, it's possible that he'll rest his starters. Popovich might also limit his starters to 25 minutes or less, expecting the Pacers to not put up a fight. Point being, this game could be a 10 to 15 point victory for San Antonio just because of their head coach who likes to micro-manage.
Much Needed Momentum
The Indiana Pacers are coming off of their biggest win to date in a 111-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
In this game, the Pacers shot the lights out, shooting 13 of 26 from 3-point land and Donald Sloan recaptured some of his early season magic with a 29 point effort on 10 of 14 shooting from the field. Even center Ian Mahinmi have a very respectable game against Tyson Chandler.
If the Pacers can have a similar performance against the Spurs, this game will be competitive and the Pacers will cover the spread. The Pacers have actually fared well, going 6-8 with a bunch of back ups.
Expect Donald Sloan to build off of last game's performance and I can see veteran Luis Scola playing well. Scola is a blue-collar player with limited talent, but his effort makes up for the lack of skill.
The Pacers will face a tall order as the Spurs are 1st in the NBA in defense, allowing a mere 91.3 points per game. San Antonio is coming off of a convincing 99-87 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in which the Nets shot just 37 % from the field as opposed to San Antonio who shot 52% from the field. Danny Green played a major role coming off the bench, getting a massive amount of playing time and scored21 points on 8 of 10 shooting from the field.
Going With the Hot Hand
This is how the Spurs offense works. Tony Parker is the main go to guy, averaging 16.8 points per game, but his play has been less than consistent. Parker is however coming off of back to back 20 point efforts. The Spurs really wanted Kawhi Leonard, last season's NBA Finals MVP, to be the main guy in the offense, but Leonard is also very inconsistent. He can give the Spurs a 28 point effort and then disappear the next game. Luckily, for the Spurs, they have a top-notch defense, the best head coach in the league, and a very deep team. This enables them to shuffle around lineups and look for the hot hand and best complimentary player in the offense.
A good example of this is Tim Duncan. Gregg Popovich saves Duncan to preserve his 38 year old body. Against the Nets, Pop didn't need Duncan to look for his offense as Duncan took just 5 shots in 25 minutes in play. Instead, Duncan grabbed 10 rebounds and contributed in other ways.
That said, if there's a very important game, the quartet of Parker, Ginobili, Duncan, and Leonard are the main guys in the offense. Expect to see what we saw against the Nets because the Pacers don't pose a threat to San Antonio.
The effort was really there for the Pacers in their last game, but they're too inconsistent a team to bet on. Take San Antonio for your NBA pick and lay the points.
Free NBA Pick: San Antonio -12.5 at Bookmaker