The Pacers have opened as four-point favorites in the NBA odds after going 4-3 against the spread in the first round of the postseason. The Wizards meanwhile covered in four of the five games.
The total for tonight's game can either be found at 183.5 or 184 depending on which sportsbook you use.
Oh how close we were to a historic collapse.
The Pacers were locked in throughout the first half of the season and you could see their desire each and every night. This is a team that went seven with the Miami Heat in the conference finals and wanted to come out this season and prove something.
All was well, but Indiana then crumbled. They closed out the season struggling majorly and the team chemistry which had carried them so far had all but disappeared.
It continued in the first round of the playoffs, as the Hawks were one win away from “shocking” Indiana. The Pacers came up big in Games 6 and 7 though and therefore will now move on to the conference semi-finals to play the Wizards.
Individually, Paul George (23.9 PPG, 10.7 RPG and 4.6 APG) did all he could to carry the load in the first-round series, while Lance Stephenson and David West also had their moments. It was a disastrous set of performances for Roy Hibbert, who averaged a miserable 5.3 PPG and 3.7 RPG against Atlanta.
Not too many people gave the Wizards a legitimate chance of beating the Bulls in the first round, but they were fantastic throughout and closed up the series in five games by winning in Chicago.
The backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal has been instrumental to the team's success throughout the season and that didn't change against the Bulls. Wall averaged 18.8 PPG, 6.8 APG and 4.6 RPG and Beal put up 19.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 4.2 APG while shooting 45.5 percent from three.
Those two guards can play, but we can't forget the likes of Nene, Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza either. Nene shot 54.8 percent overall in the first round (17.8 PPG and 6.5 RPG), Gortat had averages of 10.8 PPG and 9.6 RPG and Ariza (15.6 PPG and 8.6 RPG) was active on both ends of the floor.
This is a team that has a great mix of youthful talent and experience. They have multiple guys who know what it takes to win in the postseason and that veteran leadership is paying off at the right time.
And, heading into the conference semi-finals, Washington has to like their chances against Indiana. The Pacers have had all sorts of problems lately, while the Wizards are most certainly trending upwards.
As a neutral fan, you've got to love what you've been seeing out of the Wizards. They're playing excellent team ball on both ends of the court and they're getting rewarded for it.
Washington was able to match Chicago's intensity and effort on defense and they simply had more offensive playmakers, which ultimately made the difference. Now the Wizards have the chance to prove they're not going to go down lightly against the top seed in the conference.
And we do indeed think they'll come out swinging here tonight. We feel much better about putting our faith in Washington at this point in time, especially with that backcourt of Wall and Beal ready to do work. You may also want to consider the UNDER with these two strong defensive squads going at it.
NBA Pick: Wizards +4 (and slight lean on the UNDER)