Indiana Pacers (35-38 33-39-1 ATS) at Washington Wizards (35-38 41-31-1 ATS)
The Pacers and Wizards are meeting in the final play-in game in the Eastern Conference where the winner will be the eighth seed and face the Philadelphia 76ers. This game can be seen on national TV on TNT.
(At time of writing lines for this game have not been posted but check back as they will be soon.)
The Pacers routed the Charlotte Hornets 144-117 in the first play-in game, and they have won two in a row, overall, after losing two straight. The offense was on full display in the win over the Hornets and that is the strength of their team ranking sixth in the league in ppg. Their offense is key, as they only rank 22nd in the league in opponents ppg.
The Wizards were on the road in the other play-in game losing to the Boston Celtics 118-100. They are the third highest scoring team in the league, while ranking dead last in opponents’ ppg, but that was not the case in the loss to Boston scoring 16 points less than their season average.
The Wizards beat the Pacers in all three meetings this season.
The Pacers have covered the spread in 11 of their last 16 games against the Wizards in Washington.
A Little D Would Help
The main issue for the Pacers on the season has been their defense giving up an average of 113.2 ppg. While the team scored well in the three losses to the Wizards this season they gave up an average of 139.7 ppg.
In the 144-117 win over the Hornets in the first play-in game the Pacers jumped out to a 24-point half time lead and shot a solid 55.2% from the floor while holding Charlotte to 45.7% shooting. Rookie Oshae Brissett led Indy with 23 points and Domantas Sabonis was one assist shy of a triple-double going for 14 points, 21 rebounds, and nine assists.
Malcolm Brogdon (21.2 ppg) is the Pacers’ leading scorer and he had 16 points in the win over Charlotte after missing the last 10 games of the regular season with a hamstring injury.
The Pacers have three players averaging at least 20 ppg in Brogdon (21.2 ppg), Caris LeVert (21` ppg), and Domantas Sabonis (20.2 ppg). While Brogdon is back Levert is out for this game being on the league’s health and safety protocols.
While Indiana is on the road in this game on the season they have been better on the road (21-15) than at home (13-23).
Stars Have to Step Up
In the 118-100 loss to the Celtics the two Wizards stars of Bradley Beal and Russell Wilson did not have great games. Beal (31.3 ppg) ranked second in the league in scoring on the season and in the loss to Boston had 22 points on 10-25 shooting and missed five of his six 3-pointers. Westbrook (22.2 ppg 11.5 rpg 11.7 assist per game) did have 14 boards but only five assists and he scored 20 points on 6-18 shooting missing all four of his 3-pointers.
In the loss to Boston the Wizards did hold them to 39.6% shooting but they only shot 43.5% and were ice cold from deep missing 18 of their 21 3-pointers (14.3%).
The Wizards beat the Pacers twice in May where in those games Beal went for 76 points and dropped 50 on them in the last meeting.
Westbrook went for at least 33 points in two of the three games facing the Pacers this season.
On the season Washington is 19-17 at home.
The Wizards are 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight games following a loss.
While the Pacers are 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven games the Wizards have covered the spread in five of their last seven home games.
The Pacers looked impressive in their win over the Hornets in their last game but Charlotte limped into the playoffs with a losing streak. Indiana lost all three games facing the Wizards this season and that trend will continue. Beal and Westbrook will bounce back and have big games and in the fourth barnburner between these teams this season the Wiz will win and cover the spread.
PICK: Wizards -3