NBA Pick: NBA Playoff Play of the Day Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, May 9, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Every day during the NBA Playoffs, LT Profits Sports seeks that one single playoff play that has the best chance of cashing. Here is their Playoff Play of the Day Friday.

After evening up their Eastern Conference semifinal series at 1-1, the top seeds may have a tough time reclaiming home court advantage Friday night when those Indiana Pacers (61-30, 23-21 away) pay a visit to the Washington Wizards (49-40, 23-20 home) for Game 3 from the Verizon Center in Washington, DC at 8:05 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Washington as a moderate home favorite for this contest with the current line at -4 with odds of -105.

Once again, the Pacers rose from the ashes when they had to by again turning up the defensive intensity in Game 2 of this series after losing Game 1 at home and prevailing 86-82, and there was even a Roy Hibbert sighting as he poured in 28 points and added nine rebounds after previously being absent from these playoffs! However, the fact that the Pacers brought their “A” game in that one and still only won by four points could be most telling.

You see, Indiana won in fairly easy fashion in these playoffs when they had their backs against the wall vs. the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, such as in their 92-80 romp in Game 7 in a game that was not as close as the score. The Wizards have already proven that they possess a much tougher challenge however, and with this series now shifting to our nation’s capital for the next two games, we expect Indiana to be in another series hole at 1-2 when this night is over.

The fifth seeded Wizards turned a lot of heads by disposing of the Bulls in five games in the first round including winning all three games in Chicago, as Washington was not on national television all that often this season after acting as conference doormats the last several years and many casual basketball fans did not realize just how good this young team is, and how good it figures to be for quite a few years.

Remember that the Wizards faced the team with the best scoring defense in the NBA in the Bulls in the first round, a team that allowed only 91.8 points per game during the regular season, but that did not prevent Washington from scoring at least 97 points in the first four games of that series including cracking the century mark twice before winning Game 5 in much uglier fashion 75-69.

Now the Wizards have moved on to facing the team that allowed the second fewest points in the league this year at 92.3 per game in Indiana, and that did not stop them from going into Indianapolis and putting up 102 points in Game 1. The Wizards are also a more complete team than people give them credit for, as their dynamic backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal is nicely complimented by big man Nene doing the dirty work up front.

And while Indiana had one of the best defenses in the league in the regular season, the underrated Washington defense finished ninth in points against (99.4) and ninth in defensive efficiency, and the Wizards are second in these playoffs in points against at just 90.3 per game, trailing only the Miami Heat!

The Wizards took the Pacers best shot in Game 2, knowing that Indiana would come out with great intensity, and they were not intimidated as they came back and had a lead for much of the second half before succumbing by that 86-82 count in a game effort.

Can the Pacers now expect another amazing performance from Hibbert in Game 3 after he previously had two games during these playoffs with stat lines of 0 points and 0 rebounds? We highly doubt it. Also, while the Indiana defense did its thing in Game 2, the offense still struggled notwithstanding Hibbert’s unexpected performance, as 86 points would probably not cut it tonight with the Wizards feeding off of what should be a frenzied home crowd.

We would not be at all surprised to see the Wizards knock off the top seeds in the East to advance to the conference finals, but first things first and we like Washington to win safely at home in Game 3 to reclaim the series lead and hold on to the home court advantage that it has now wrestled away from Indiana in this series on Friday.

[gameodds]5/286084/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Wizards -4 (-105)