Two teams both playing on a back-to-back on the third day of the season may not have the legs to play defense, so go ‘over’ when the Grizzlies visit the new-look Pacers Thursday.
The 2015-16 NBA season just started two nights ago, and yet we already have teams playing back-to-backs opposing each other Thursday night and the ‘over’ may be the right call when the Memphis Grizzlies (0-1, 0-1 ATS) visit the Indiana Pacers (0-1, 0-1 ATS) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN at 7:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Midwest.
The posted total at Bet365 is 190 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -110.
Both Teams Lost Wednesday
Neither of these teams could be happy about beginning the new season 0-1 last night. The Pacers led for most of the first three quarters but ended up falling 106-99 in Toronto, with that contest sneaking ‘over’ the posted total of 200. And it already seems evident Indiana could be more of an ‘over’ friendly team this year than the plodding teams of recent seasons under Coach Frank Vogel.
The Grizzlies had an even more disappointing season opener as they were embarrassing losing NBA picks 106-76 at home to LeBron James and the Cavaliers, and that was with Cleveland being the team playing the second of a back-to-back! Memphis disappointed on both ends of the floor for its worst home loss since 2008, when it also lost by 30 points at FedExForum to the Boston Celtics.
More Running by Pacers
The Pacers have been very methodical on offense in recent years while relying on stiff defense to win basketball games, in fact ranking 25th in the NBA in scoring last season at 97.3 points per game. However, Indiana let defensive stalwarts Roy Hibbert and David West walk during the off-season while bringing in a prolific scorer in Monta Ellis and moving Paul George to the power forward spot, going small with the intention of speeding up the pace this year.
Well, they did that successfully with their game in Toronto last night producing the highest Pace Rating of all the season openers in the league this year at 106.9! Unfortunately, Indiana shot a dismal 37.2 percent from the field, which is why all of those extra possessions for a team that played to a Pace Rating of 95.5 last season to rank 19th in the league translated to only 99 points.
Still, the Pacers cannot really shoot the ball worse than they did last night, and if more of those shots do fall while matching the tempo from Wednesday, they could approach or top the 100-point mark this evening.
Where was Memphis Defense?
Now, the Grizzlies have a reputation of having a great defense, and deservedly so, but they also happened to lead the NBA offensively in points in the paint with 46.6 per game last year, thanks to the big tandem of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
That tandem combined for just 24 points last night though and nobody else on Memphis stepped up, as if you take away the combined 11-of-23, 47.8 percent shooting of those two big men, the rest of Grizzlies’ team shot a horrific 18-for-59, 30.5 percent for just 52 points combined! On the other end of the court, the Grizzlies did not look like themselves defensively either while allowing a supposedly tired Cleveland team to shoot 48.8 percent overall.
That lack of defense is the greater concern, and Memphis may have to wait until next game to improve on that end assuming the Pacers continue to speed up the pace like they did last night, as running teams are difficult to defend on the second of back-to-backs with tired legs. Also, the rest of the Memphis offense has to shoot better tonight, and even Gasol and Randolph are capable of much more than they displayed on Wednesday.
Indiana Going ‘over’ at Home
Finally, remember that the Pacers played at a much slower pace last season than they plan to play at this year as they relied on the defense to win games, and yet the ‘over’ still went 7-1 in the last eight Indiana home games, which is a nice omen for more ‘over’ success at a faster pace this year.
And we do not feel that this rather modest total incorporates the change in the Pacers’ style of play this season enough, so go ‘over’ when Memphis visits Indiana at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday.
NBA Pick: Grizzlies, Pacers ‘over’ 190 (-110)