The Pacers looked like the Pacers from the beginning of the season in Game 7 against the Hawks, but the question remains. Can they sustain this run through the second round? Washington is much better of a team than the Hawks, and if Indiana doesn’t come to play, it might be another upset notch on the Wizards’ belt. The NBA Odds for this one come in favoring the Pacers at -4, with a total of 183 ½.
If you thought that the Pacers had trouble with Jeff Teague, I can’t wait for this Game 1. John Wall is going to have a field day against George Hill during this series, and if the Pacers can’t keep Wall from breaking down their defense, this series might be just as quick and painful for Indiana as it was for the Bulls.
Not only is Wall going to dominate this game and series, but the Washington big men are going to be a matchup problem for the Pacers as well. Nene is just as strong, taller and quicker than David West, while Marcin Gortat is about two or three steps faster than Roy Hibbert.
This takes away from the Pacers’ defense, and since it hasn’t been playing well to begin with, it’s hard for me to take the Pacers here. I think their defense will show up better against the Wizards than it did against Atlanta, but the Wizards can play some defense too.
With the long break for Washington, their scoring may be a little rusty coming into this series, however their defense will be pumped up and rested to play in the second round for the first time since the Gilbert Arenas days. This could lead to the total of 183 ½ being a great under value in Game 1.
The Sharp Pick
These two played one another only three times this regular season, and the Pacers won the series 2-1 both SU and ATS. However they won the first two meetings, and those were way back at the beginning of the season. Their last meeting with one another was just over a month ago, and the Wizards dominated the Pacers both SU and ATS in Indiana. They led the Pacers by 18 at the end of the 3rd quarter and ended the game winning by double figures on the road.
One of the most baffling things from that game was the fact that the Pacers’ offense was horrible, not even reaching 80 points at home. If the Wizards defense is locked in like it was I the first round and in that game, this total is going to fly under.
All three of the regular season meetings went under the total, and not only did they go under, but they flew under. The three meetings had totals of around 186 points, but the totals went under by an average of 21 points per game in all three. I think we could see a huge defensive based series, and the team that works harder on that end will likely advance. Even though this current total is 2-3 points lower than the regular season totals, I think the under is a great value once again.
My Pick: UNDER 183 ½