Brooklyn Nets (42-20-23 32-30 ATS) at Indiana Pacers (29-32 25-36 ATS)
In an Eastern Conference game that can be seen on NBA TV the Indiana Pacers play host to the Brooklyn Nets, who clinched a playoff berth in their last game.
This preview is posted for this Thursday game before the trends and odds are out and check back, as they will be posted soon.
The Nets have won three in a row and they clinched a playoff spot with their last win. The team still has issues through, as James Harden has been sidelined for a while and he and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have not played in many games together as the new “Big 3”.
The Pacers had their three-game win streak snapped in their last game and every loss in a big one from here on out. The team sits in the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference and they need to end well to catch up and avoid the play-in game if they get there.
Indiana is a balanced team on both ends of the floor and will be facing a Nets’ team that is the second highest scoring team in the NBA.
The Nets have won both games facing the Pacers this season with the last one in Indiana on February 11th.
Eyes on the Prize
For many if the Nets do not win the title with Durant, Irving, and Harden this season will be a bust. They beat the Toronto Raptors 116-103 in their last game clinching a playoff berth but after the game rookie head coach Steve Nash said, I think we have our eyes on bigger things.”
Durant (27.1 ppg) went for “only” 17 points in the win over Toronto but was 5-7 from the floor and also had 10 rebounds. Jeff Green had 22 points to lead Brooklyn and the Nets overcame a poor shooting night from Irving (9 points 3-13 from the floor) to get the W.
Durant has picked up right where he left off after missing nearly two months with an injury and the Pacers have not seen him this season. Irving (26.9 ppg) has been up and down as of late and in two of his last three games has scored fewer than 17 points and shot less than 24% from the floor.
Harden (25.2 ppg) had a setback from rehabbing his hamstring and coach Nash said he still has a ways to go.
On the season Brooklyn is 17-13 on the road.
Defending the Perimeter Helps
The Pacers were routed in their last game losing at home to the Portland Trail Blazers where they did not defend the perimeter. Both teams shot similar field goal percentages, but the Blazers shot a scorching 57.1% from 3-pt land hitting 20 of 35 of their long bombs.
Indiana is really a “star-less” team that has many players that can scored and plays good defense. Malcolm Brogdon (21.5 ppg) is the leading scorer for the team and he had totaled 50 points in two games before scoring 18 in the loss to the Blazers where he only shot 35.7% from the floor.
All Star PF Domantas Sabonis (19.9 ppg 11.6 rpg) has missed the last few games with a back injury and is out for this game as well.
Myles Turner (12.6 ppg) out and Goga Bitadze (5.1 ppg) questionable, Oshae Brissett (9.4 ppg) and JaKarr Sampson (3.8 ppg) have to step up the scoring and the defense in the paint.
This season the Pacers have been much better on the road (18-14) than at home (11-18).
Durant will be seeing the Pacers for the first time and he will go big. Indiana has some key players banged up and while Harden is still out the Nets will take advantage of that. Brooklyn will light up the scoreboard and win and cover sending the Pacers to their second loss in a row.