The spread is exactly the same for Game 4 as it was in Game 3, as Washington is favored by 4.5 points. The total has opened even lower though, which is no surprise after what we saw two nights ago. The O/U is currently trading at 180.5.
Now that's championship-level defense right there.
The Pacers executed decently well on the offensive end, but their defensive effort was absolutely amazing. They held Washington to 32.9 percent shooting and only 63 points in a huge Game 3 victory.
Paul George was the standout for Indiana, scoring a game-high 23 points on 6-of-15 shooting to go with eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block. That more than made up for another inefficient night from Lance Stephenson, who hit only 4-of-13 shots for nine points.
It was good to see Roy Hibbert play well once again. He had 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks and made life difficult inside for Nene and Marcin Gortat. That's all the Pacers want from their rim protector.
That's now four wins in their last five playoff games for Indiana. They've found their rhythm again, especially on the defensive end where they've made their name over the last two years. Let's see if the Pacers lock things down once again in Game 4.
The Wizards thought they knew what top-level defense was when they did battle with the Bulls in the first round, but it's reached a whole new level here in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Indiana is making life extremely difficult on this young Washington squad.
We mentioned how poor the Wizards were offensively in Game 3, but let's delve even deeper into the numbers. They hit only 4-of-16 from beyond the arc and even struggled at the line, where they were 11-of-21 for 52.4 percent.
Both the backcourt and frontcourt found it difficult. John Wall and Bradley Beal had 31 points combined on 12-of-32 shooting and the pair had nine turnovers between them as well. As for Nene and Gortat, they were held to just 12 points, a far cry from the level they had been producing at earlier in these playoffs.
One would have to assume this offensive ineptitude, at least on this scale, won't continue into Game 4. Wall and Beal have to be more effective and we reckon they will be.
It wouldn't hurt to get more production out of the bench either. The Wizards got only eight points out of their bench in Game 3 and that's just not going to cut it. Whether it be Drew Gooden, Martell Webster, Al Harrington, Andre Miller or Trevor Booker, someone has to step up.
Game 4 Pick
Jordan Sharp and I are on different sides for tonight's crucial Game 4 in the nation's capital. He's taking the generous amount of points with the Pacers, but I look for the Wizards to get the victory both straight up and against the spread.
We foresee a much better performance out of the Wall and Beal combo tonight. Their inexperience has shone through over the last two games, but we expect them to rise to the occasion in this game.
Some may be hesitant to put any faith in Washington after that Game 3 abomination, but we're taking the favorites.
NBA Pick: Wizards -4.5