It might not have been a huge day in the NBA, but Steph Curry’s performance in New York had NBA fans buzzing and set Twitter on fire. The 6’0’’ guard admirably picked up the slack for the suspended David Lee, dropping 54 points on 11 of 13 shooting. Not bad for a guy who was snubbed for the All-Star Game just last week. Unfortunately for Curry, it still wasn’t quite enough as they lost to the Knicks, but it might have been the best individual performance of the season.
The Pacers are going to need their teammates to pick up the slack for Roy Hibbert, as he serves the other suspension from Monday’s Indiana v. Golden State brawl (though as the Indy Star aptly wrote, “we know brawls, and THAT was no brawl.”). Can they beat the Clippers who are finally at full strength without their big man in the middle? Let’s take a look at tonight’s most interesting game (though thanks to TNT’s ridiculous six-team bias, not nationally televised despite being a Thursday night game), and see if the Pacers can keep up their winning ways.
Los Angeles Clippers at Indiana Pacers -1
Indiana may be without the services of Hibbert tonight, which certainly isn’t a positive against a tough LA frontcourt, but they WILL have their two best players, Paul George and David West at the ready. For one game, I don’t think the absence will be that noticeable, and perhaps the absence will loosen up the floor and offensive flow a bit and help Danny Granger begin to reestablish some rhythm offensively.
The Pacers have been phenomenal at home this season, going 24-5. A big reason for that is the league’s stingiest defense which has held opponents to 88.3 ppg on 42.3% shooting. Los Angeles is a dynamic offensive team, but the cross-country flight coupled with Indy’s stifling defense should cause them some problems. I expect them to look a little sluggish tonight.
The Clippers have been playing well, winning six of their last seven games and posting a +8.7 ppg differential the last five. Indiana has been playing even better, winning seven straight and posting a ludicrous +23.8 pgg differential during that stretch. That’s far and away the best run any team in the league has put on this entire season.
The absence of Roy Hibbert hurts, but the emotionally galvanizing effect his absence brings will offset the physical loss. I expect Indy to come out and play exceptionally well tonight and to keep their winning streak alive and well.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers -1