The Indiana Pacers didn’t win Friday night, but they did beat the NBA odds. The Brooklyn Nets won, but they only managed a push in triple overtime. Should we jump back on the Pacers bandwagon for Saturday’s game?
Jason’s record as of Mar. 19: 54-48-4 ATS, 5-8 Totals, minus-1.00 units ML
Looks like the Indiana Pacers aren’t done making money just yet. After honking four in a row ATS, the Pacers gave the Cleveland Cavaliers a serious run Friday night before coming up short, 95-92. That was still more than enough to cash in as 10.5-point road dogs. George Hill was at it again, scoring 24 points on 9-of-15 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from downtown. Maybe he was inspired by the news that Paul George is coming back soon. Or maybe Hill’s just that damn good. Either/either.
The Brooklyn Nets almost had themselves a payday of their own Friday night, but they had to settle for a push in a 129-127 triple-overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Well, it’s a push on the “official” NBA odds at the close. There were a few books who had Brooklyn laying 2.5 points at home. We hope you had the right price if you were on this game. So which of these two teams should be our “official” basketball pick for Saturday night’s matchup (7:00 p.m. ET, YES)? And why are we always using “ironic” quotation marks?
Driving the Porcelain Bus
Unfortunately for the Pacers, they didn’t make it through Friday night unscathed. David West (16.3 PER, plus-2.0 BPM) had to leave the game after 12 minutes of action with an undisclosed illness. He took off for the dressing room pretty quickly, too. Will West be all right for Saturday? It’s too early to tell as we go to press. If not, Indiana will be without its second-best player in terms of BPM – only Hill (20.5 PER, plus-4.5 BPM) is doing better this year.
Maybe this mystery ailment is partly responsible for West’s offensive struggles this month. He only managed 9.1 points per game in March before shooting 1-for-7 against the Cavaliers. It’s not all that dire; West was still a plus-5.6 in his first nine games this month. His Defensive Rating for March is a season-best 98, and his usage rate has dropped a bit along with his shooting percentages. Get well soon.
As for George, word came down just before Friday’s game that he could make his season debut as soon as Saturday night. Head coach Frank Vogel nixed that idea after the Cavs loss; an update on George’s status is expected on Monday, but this should still be inspirational for the Pacers (20-38 SU, 36-29-3 ATS) going forward. At press time, Indiana was in a three-way logjam for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Hornets. Adding George to the mix could be the difference-maker.
Waking up Before I Get to Sleep
The Nets (28-39 SU, 31-35-1 ATS) are another 1.5 games back in 11th place with a game in hand, so they’re not done yet, but time is running out. They were on a five-game losing streak SU and ATS before winning three of their last four at 2-1-1 ATS. Brooklyn had to come back from 14 points down to beat the Bucks, who have been in a tailspin since the Michael Carter-Williams trade. Whoops.
We can imagine the Nets being a little bit tired after this one. Thaddeus Young (19.8 PER, plus-0.9 BPM) played 53 minutes. Brook Lopez (20.3 PER, minus-1.4 BPM) played 42 minutes, and Joe Johnson (14.2 PER, plus-0.1 BPM) was out there for 48 minutes. They were Brooklyn’s top three scorers Friday night. There isn’t a lot of depth on this Nets team, but they might have to go deep into their reserves and play guys like Darius Morris (7.1 PER, minus-6.9 BPM) on Saturday. That’s a scary enough thought to make the Pacers our NBA Picks instead.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Pacers -8 at 5Dimes