NBA Pick: NBA Playoff Play of the Day Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, May 5, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Monday, May. 5, 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 Monday.

After being taken to seven games in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the top seeds in the Eastern Conference could have another tough battle on their hands in Game 1 of the conference semifinals when the fifth seeded Washington Wizards (48-39, 25-19 away) pay a visit to those Indiana Pacers (65-23, 24-10 home) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN at 7:05 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT.

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

The Wizards continued to defy the odds this season by eliminating the Chicago Bulls in five games in the first round, including going 3-0 in the three games in Chicago. Then again, maybe that should have not been much of a surprise considering that Washington was one of the best road teams in the league during the regular season at 22-19 straight up, as well as 26-15, 63.4 percent ATS.

The Pacers struggled badly over the second half of the season and that continued when falling behind 3-2 in their opening series vs. the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks before coming back from a five-point deficit with three minutes remaining in Game 6 and then dominating Game 7 from the start en route to a 92-80 romp that was not even as close as that score with the outcome never in doubt.

In fact, the Pacers finally resembled the team that was possibly the best team in the NBA before the All-Star break in Game 7, possibly for the first time since then! However, there are a couple of reasons why we do not expect a repeat performance tonight but rather more of the “second half” Pacers.

First, it took having their backs against the wall for the Pacers to set aside whatever ailed them over the second half of the season and do what they had to do to advance. And second, that game was on Saturday, meaning they had just one day off before the start of this series. For those two reasons combined, we do not expect the same intensity from the Indiana defense that we saw on Saturday, and when the Pacers don’t defend, they have trouble winning with a mediocre offense.

The Pacers won the head-to-head series with Washington 2-1 this season, but that series demonstrated exactly the state of mind Indiana was in at the time. The first two meetings both came early in the season before the All-Star break, and the Wizards could not do anything vs. the stifling Pacers’ defense while losing 93-73 and 93-66 respectively.

The final meeting came after the All-Star break a little over one month ago on March 28th, and the Wizards prevailed 91-78 back home on our nation’s capital.

Even though this game is in Indiana, we expect this contest to more closely resemble that game than the two early season meetings, and why not? After all, the Wizards just defeated the team that allowed the fewest points in the NBA while losing just one game and the Pacers are not really that much different than Chicago in that Indiana finished second in points against and just 24th in points scored at 96.7 per contest.

Well, outside of the ugly 75-69 win in Game 5 at Chicago where they shot just 40.5 percent from the field, the Wizards scored at least 97 points in the first four games of that series while topping 100 points twice vs. a Chicago defense that allowed 91.8 points per game during the season, and that included scoring 98 points in Game 4 with Nene serving a suspension.

With the Wizards at full health now and the Pacers in a tough emotional spot playing on short rest after playing intense defense in Game 7 of the first round, take the points with Washington in Game 1 from Indianapolis on Monday.

[gameodds]5/286076/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Wizards +4 (-105)

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