The NBA Odds were a little late coming out for this one but now the Pacers sit as slight -1 home favorites, with a total of 190 ½. After their scuffle against the Warriors, will the Pacers have what it takes to top the Clippers coming to town?
Pacers minus Hibbert
After getting two technical fouls for basically launching Stephen Curry into the stands, Roy Hibbert has been suspended for this game tonight against the Clippers. This is big for two reasons. First, Hibbert is the Pacers’ loan paint presence on defense, which could lead to a couple of big dunks tonight from some of the Clippers.
It also takes away one of their best offensive weapons in their game plan. While he hasn’t had a great season so far, Hibbert is very important to the Pacers’ offense. At times this team has struggled to score, and Hibbert gives them opportunities at easy baskets when the outside shots aren’t falling. Without him tonight, they will be much smaller and will have to utilize the services of Ian Mahinmi and Tyler Hansbrough more off the bench.
Danny Granger is back for Indiana, but his presence will likely not be felt much in this game, as he has only logged 19 minutes in each of the last two games for Indiana. If Indiana is going to win this game, they will not only have to make up for the lack of post presence on defense, but Paul George and the rest of the Pacers will also have to make up for Hibbert’s 10-12 points per game tonight against a stingy LA defense.
The Clippers are basically back to full health (Jamaal Crawford missed Tuesday’s game because of the birth of his child and Eric Bledsoe is DTD with a calf injury) and they are starting to play like the team I called the second best in the West at one point this season. LA has won seven of their last eight games SU, and they have also won four of their last five road games SU.
However, LA is still two games back of OKC and four games back of the Spurs with 23 games to go. Tonight against a solid defensive unit in Indiana, the Clippers will have to prove that their half court offense is up to the task of winning a slower game. I can guarantee that Frank Vogel and the Pacers are going to do everything in their power to slow the Clippers to a crawl and force them to beat them with plays in the half court.
The Clippers have improved in this area. Both Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan have improved offensively this season in their post up isolation moves, and with both Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups healthy, this offense is running pretty smooth.
The Sharp Pick
Hibbert being out tonight has probably dropped this spread at least two or three points. You may be sitting there thinking that it’s not such a big deal, but the Pacers have no one else to play center, and center is more important to Indiana than any other team.
Indiana is #1 in the NBA in rebounding and hence rebounding differential; they are 2nd in the NBA in defensive rebounding and 4th in offensive rebounding. Now without their leading rebounder and shot blocker for tonight, the LA big men are going to feast. As much as I love David West as a player, he will not be enough to make up the differential tonight on the glass.
While the Pacers are a great rebounding team, even with Hibbert they give up a lot of offensive rebounds to other teams. The Clippers are already a good rebounding team, and without Hibbert tonight, I can almost guarantee the Clippers will get at least 12 or more offensive rebounds. The Pacers give up nearly 12 with Hibbert in the lineup.
L.A. is an even 15-15 ATS on the road this season, but I think they will get their 16th win for our NBA betting ticket. The Clippers will be too much tonight.