Pacers Back In Form
It appears that Miami's surge, which got the Heat within striking distance of Indiana's Eastern Conference lead, has gotten the attention of the Pacers as they have won five straight games after alternating wins and losses in the previous six. Of course it has helped the schedule has gotten massively easier as the teams the Pacers have beaten in the streak are the Bucks twice, Lakers, Celtics and Jazz.
Sunday's 94-91 home win over Utah was closer than expected as the Pacers (33-25-1 ATS, 26-31-2 O/U at sportsbooks) were 11-point favorites, but they were playing the second of a back-to-back. It was the fourth time in the winning streak they failed to cover. On a night when Indiana wasn't shooting well, David West was 11 of 17 from the field for a team-high 25 points. Roy HIbbert was just 1-for-9 from the field and played only 19 minutes due to some foul trouble as well. New acquisition Evan Turner was 2-for-9 for eight points in 20 minutes. He's averaging 11.5 points but shooting only 40 percent in 23.3 minutes per night since arriving from Philadelphia.
Starting Indiana point guard George Hill sat out his second straight game Sunday with a bruised shoulder and is iffy. C.J. Watson started both in his place. He had 13 points, five assists and four rebounds and was a team-high plus-15 against Utah. The Pacers have outscored opponents by 13.8 points per game at home and visitors are shooting 39.9 percent from the field against the NBA's No. 1 defense in Indianapolis.
The Pacers won't be home much after this for a while, playing six of their next eight on the road primarily because the Big Ten Tournament will be held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
This will be Game 5 of a six-game road trip through the Eastern Conference for the Warriors. After this, they don't play more than two straight road games the rest of the way so perhaps Golden State can still catch the Clippers, who are 4.5 games ahead in the Pacific Division.
Golden State (28-29-3 ATS, 24-35-1 O/U at sportsbooks) is 2-2 on the trip. It won in Detroit to kick it off, was routed in Chicago, blew out the Knicks and then on Sunday the Warriors lost 104-98 in Toronto. Golden State star Steph Curry was held to just five points on 2-for-10 shooting in the loss to the Bulls. He bounced back with a triple-double against the Knicks (27/11/11) and then 34 points and seven assists in the loss to Toronto, although he did turn it over six times and leads the league by a pretty wide margin in that category. Klay Thompson's recent struggles have continued as he was 2-for-7 against the Raptors for 12 points. His scoring average was 18.3 per game in 37.1 minutes before the break and is down to 14.3 in 30.1 minutes and only 41.5 percent from the field since.
Warriors backup center Jermaine O'Neal had to miss the Toronto game because he didn't have his passport as it was either lost or stolen. He will be back in there Tuesday behind Andrew Bogut.
On Jan. 20 in Oakland, the Warriors were 1.5-point favorites on NBA odds and lost 102-94 (total was a push). Indiana led by as much as 20 in the third quarter before the Warriors got within two. They were never able to tie it. Paul George had 23 points as all five Pacers started scored in double figures. The bench managed just 19 points. Curry had 24 points for Golden State, but Andre Iguodala only seven. That loss assures the Warriors won't win the series against Indiana for the 13th straight season. Golden State coach Mark Jackson played for Indiana from 1994-2000.
NBA free picks: We'll back Indiana -5.5 and the under 196 in our NBA picks for this match-up. The Warriors are 0-5 ATS in their past five road games against teams with a winning home record. They have covered once in their past 12 at Indiana and lost six straight there. The under is 5-0 in Golden State's past five Tuesday games.