NBA Pick: NBA Playoff Play of the Day Saturday

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, May 3, 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 Saturday.

Defense should rule in the first of three NBA Playoff first round Game 7s on Saturday when the Atlanta Hawks (41-47, 16-28 away) pay a visit to the top seeded Indiana Pacers (59-29, 36-8 home) in the deciding game from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN at 5:35 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 185 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at +100.

If you want to talk about a tale of two seasons, the Pacers were arguably the best team in the NBA before the All-Star break while holding the league’s best record for a huge chunk of the first half, but they then proceeded to go a mind-boggling 10-29-1 ATS in their last 40 games including these playoffs. Luckily, all will be forgotten if that can finally put pesky Atlanta away today in this penultimate Game 7.

Meanwhile the eighth-seeded Hawks get a second chance to set an NBA record for the worst regular season record (38-44) of any team to ever win an NBA Playoff series. Unfortunately they imploded late in Game 6, blowing a five-point lead with three minutes remaining as the Pacers ended the game on a 16-4 run to prevail 95-88. That marked the second home loss of the series in Atlanta, which has offset the two wins by the Hawks here in Indianapolis.

The Pacers may have been awful after the All-Star break, but Thursday marked the second time in this series that the defense played up to its standards, holding Atlanta to 35.8 percent shooting and forcing 14 turnovers. Of course, Indiana did the same thing in Game 4 in Atlanta, only to come home and have the Hawks go 15-for-27 from beyond the three-point arc in their Game 5 loss.

We do not expect another slip-up here though with the season on the line, and because the Pacers were so bad down the stretch, it may be easy to forget that they still finished second in the league in points against during the season at 92.3 per game, and they led the league in field goal percentage allowed at 42.0 percent and while finishing fourth in three-point defense at 34.5 percent. Furthermore, they did ultimately earn the top seed in the East over the Heat.

In other words, the Pacers should be at their best in this game and when that happens, their suffocating defense should be too much for an eighth-seeded team with limited playoff experience like the Hawks to handle. With that said, the Indiana offense could make giving points a bit dicey, but that only makes us like the ‘under’ here even more.

Now give the Hawks credit for forcing a seventh game, and both of their wins at Indiana in this series have been fairly decisive as they had large leads in both games before late Pacer runs made those final scores appear closer than the games actually were. However, this is still an eight-seed facing a one-seed in Game 7 on the road, so the late Atlanta collapse with a chance to end the series at home in Game 6 could be a precursor for this contest.

Also, Indiana Coach Frank Vogel has finally come to grips with the fact that most of Atlanta’s offensive success in this series came with defensive liability Roy Hibbert on the floor, and he finally limited Hibbert’s minutes while going with a smaller lineup for much of Game 6, with nice results.

Look for a replay of Game 6 here with Indiana going small for much of the game and Atlanta struggling against that defense while feeling even more pressure, so go ‘under’ in Game 7 from Indianapolis on Saturday.

[gameodds]5/285128/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Hawks, Pacers ‘under’ 185 (+100)