Philadelphia 76’ers at Indiana Pacers -4.5 (Total 189.5)
The Indiana Pacers have very quietly been as good as any team in the league since over the last four weeks. They have won 11 of 12 overall and done so in pretty impressive fashion. Five of the wins have been on the road, though granted only Houston was a playoff bound opponent. Things are going to get a lot tougher for the Pacers in a few weeks, but for now, all you can do is beat the teams that are in front of you. And the Pacers have been doing that with quiet efficiency.
Indiana is incredibly balanced, fundamentally sound and tenacious defensively. No one would ever dare say it, but I can almost guarantee you they are silently rooting for Miami to overtake Chicago for the number one seed in the East. Indiana believes they can beat Chicago in a second round series, especially after winning in Chicago early this season and their fiercely contested first round sseries with the Bulls last year.
Philadelphia on the other hand is gripping for dearlife to hold on to the final playoff spot in the East. This team has been in an absolute freefall since the All Star break, though it can fairly be attributed to them playing significantly over their heads in the first half of the season as it can the relative collapse since. Thetalent level on this team is not that of a playoff team, and the fact they will likely slip in simply speaks to the dearth of talented teams in the East. This team likely finishes 13th in the West, behind Portland and Minnesota.
The Pacers went into Philly a week ago and won 102-97. Tonight they get the Sixers in their home arena. The only saving grace for Philly is the relative lack of importance for the Pacers tonight. They have clinched the three seed in the East and have no hope of moving up to number two. Their position is set; now they are simply playing out the string waiting for the second season to start next Saturday. For Philly, another loss or two and they could find themselves wondering what happened and watching the Bucks playing in the playoffs and themselves praying for a lotter ping-pong ball miracle.
There is a lot on the line for Philadelphia, but I still don’t think they beat the Pacers in Indy. The Pacers are too deep and tough defensively and Phily doesn’t have enough offense to cope with the pressure and size. Give me the Pacers winning and covering tonight. They’ve gone 11-1 overall and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games. I see that positive streak playing out again tonight.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers -4.5