If you’re the Indiana Pacers (32-16), there’s one of two ways that you can view the game against the Golden State Warriors (35-14) tonight: 1. You could either get intimidated and let the Warriors continue to steamroll. Or 2. You can make a statement of: “We can win without Victor Oladipo, and we can do so against the best and most talented team in the NBA.”
If you don’t recall, Oladipo is out for the season after suffering a torn quad tendon last Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors. Indiana would win the home contest, 110-106.
Tonight against Golden State, the Pacers might be able to take advantage of the circumstances surrounding the Warriors entering the game. Golden State may be tired due to this being the very end of an 11-day five-game road trip.
Here’s the problem though for Indiana: The Warriors are currently on a nine-game winning streak, which is the best stretch in the league. Their last victory came at Boston against the Celtics, 115-111, on Saturday night — which by the way ended Boston’s 10-game winning streak at home.
Here’s also another issue for the Pacers: They’re already proving fans’ fears correct when they took a 106-103 loss at the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. Before the game against Indiana, the Grizzlies were riding a eight-game losing streak.
And here’s even more bad news: In the game without Oladipo, the point production for Indiana was the second-lowest since December 19. Their field goal percentage was the third lowest since the 18th — posting 43.2 FG%.
There’s a bright spot, however, for the Pacers. Earlier this season, Oladipo had missed eight games due to a sore right knee. Without their star, Indiana would go a winning 7-4 in that stretch — they’re now 7-5 after the loss against Memphis.
For the season, Oladipo is currently averaging 18.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 5.2 APG and 1.7 STLPG.
Before the game against Memphis, there was hope from the Pacers that Tyreke Evans could do a solid job of replacing Oladipo in the starting rotation. Evans has been fantastic coming off of the bench this season averaging 10.9 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 2.3 APG with a 12.78 PER.
Unfortunately for Indiana, that didn’t go so well. He was held to just nine points as a starter, this after scoring double figures off of the bench in seven straight games previously.
And that’s not all, but the rest of the bench was shut down as well. In points-per-game (40.2), they rank ninth in the league, and they also place third when it comes to field goal percentage with 48.2 FG%. Against a lowly Memphis team, they only put up 34 points, and posted a weak 35.5 FG% to go with it.
For the Warriors, they did struggle offensively against Indiana last season, getting swept by the Pacers in a two-game series. Their average in point production in those two losses was just 93.5 PPG.
In Golden State’s defense, however, the first loss came without all of their 2018 All-Stars: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. That loss would end up being a 92-81 score. In a 126-106 loss on the road, the Warriors would still be without Curry.
Golden State also didn’t have DeMarcus Cousins either, a fifth All-Star to complete their starting rotation. Since making his debut for the Warriors, Cousins has averaged a stat line of 13.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 3.5 APG in four straight victories. In the last game at Boston, Cousins posted 15 points and eight rebounds, and this coming in just 23 minutes.
The Warriors are currently on a 10-game winning streak, doing so for a sixth consecutive season — an accomplishment only done by the San Antonio Spurs from 2011-2016.
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The Golden State Warriors have solid advantages over the Indiana Pacers in all of the statistical categories, though they lack tremendously in defensive comparison. On the offensive side, the Warriors are a dramatic +10 with 118.8 PPG — first in the NBA. Golden State also shoots an elite 49.0 FG% to tag with it, that’s +2 over Indiana. The Warriors are also +3 in rebounding, posting up a number of 46.7 RPG. Here’s where Golden State takes a hit though: A -9 disadvantage allowing 112.0 PPG against them.
As expected, the Indiana Pacers come in with the disadvantage in every statistical category, with the exception of a solid edge on the defensive side of the ball. In offensive production, the Pacers are -10 with a 108.9 PPG tally. Indiana’s field goal percentage of 47.9 FG% is -2 when compared to the Golden State Warriors. Another disadvantage, at -3, also appears in the rebounding game at 43.8 RPG. The Pacers have a drastic edge on the defensive side, however: They average an elite 103.2 PA, which is +9 over the Warriors.
Let’s be honest here: We need to issue a blowout alert for tonight’s game. Without Victor Oladipo, the Indiana Pacers obviously have no firepower to counter just one of Golden State’s five All-Stars — who by the way are undefeated since the debut of DeMarcus Cousins.
History also tells us that the Warriors are 6-4 against the Pacers in their last 10 games, and with the addition of Cousins, the odds stack even more in their favor, especially with the Pacers’ subtraction of Oladipo. Golden State will win the game, there’s no question about that — seriously, how do you defend a team with five All-Stars?
So what we’re really looking at here is if the Warriors can cover the spread: They’re currently an -8.5 point favorite over the Pacers. The only way I see Golden State NOT covering the spread is if Indiana’s Tyreke Evans has an incredible game tonight, I don’t see that happening though. I don’t expect a major 20-point blowout with the Pacers being at home, but I do expect the Warriors to cover with at least a 10-point victory — I personally have them by 15.