When the Indiana Pacers (32-17) visit the Washington Wizards (21-29) tonight, they’ll be looking to end a two-game losing streak.
Since Victor Oladipo was hit with his season-ending torn quadriceps tendon, the Pacers have taken a 106-103 loss at the Memphis Grizzlies, and then were steamrolled by the Golden State Warriors at home, 132-100.
For the season, Indiana is now 7-6 overall without Victor Oladipo.
There’s a silver lining for the Pacers, however: Starting with the game tonight at Washington, they begin a four-game road trip where they’ll also take visits to the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans — winnable games that Indiana desperately needs in order to eclipse both the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors for the lead in the Eastern Conference.
But with the good news, also comes some bad news for the Pacers: For the entire road trip, it’s looking like their guard Tyreke Evans will be out — the replacement for Oladipo. Evans would miss the game against Golden State on Monday because of lower back soreness. He also didn’t participate in yesterday’s practice.
What this means for Indiana is Edmond Sumner, who was recently called up from the NBA G-League, could take over the responsibility of Oladipo’s spot in the rotation until the return of Evans.
Unfortunately for the Pacers, the 23-year-old shot a depressing 10% (1-for-10) against the Golden State Warriors.
Not feeling bad for Oladipo-less Indiana are the John Wall-less Washington Wizards, who are also without Dwight Howard and Markieff Morris. And not just that, but they’re on a back-to-back coming into tonight’s game.
Last night, the Wizards were getting hammered by the Cleveland Cavaliers by 25 points — and this entering the fourth quarter. However, their bench almost pulled an incredible rally, and Washington would only fall by a 116-113 score.
The Wiz also+ had a chance to even it up. After cutting the Cavs’ lead to just three, Washington would go for the tie after inbounding the ball with 10.8 seconds remaining in the game. Cleveland’s Cedi Osman would block a three-point shot from Wizards’ Troy Brown.
Despite the loss, some good numbers came from Washington in the game against the Cavaliers: Bradley Beal would put up 31 points, while reserve Jordan McCrae added 15 points off of 5-of-5 shooting. Trevor Ariza also scored 13 for the Wiz.
Washington is currently riding a two-game losing streak, and enter tonight a bit more healthy with the returns of big-man Ian Mahinmi and Sam Dekker. Mahinmi was out with a sprained right thumb, while Decker was hit with back spasms — both would miss one game.
In two meetings this season, the Pacers hold the 2-0 edge. Both games were played at Indiana in December.
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CHECK THE NUMBERS
For the Indiana Pacers, they come in with three of the four main statistical categories (the four categories are points-per-game, points against, field goal %, rebounds-per-game), with scoring being their only negative. When it comes to offensive production, they’re -4 sitting with 108.7 PPG. However, they’re +1 in field goal percentage hitting 47.8% of their shots. On the rebounding end, they have another positive — this time +3 with 43.7 RPG. Their biggest edge comes on the defensive end: +12 with a solid mark of 103.8 PA.
Along with homecourt advantage, the Washington Wizards come in with an advantage in one of the four main categories on the stat sheet. In points-per-game, the Wizards hold their only edge being +4 averaging 112.8 PPG. Hitting their shots, Washington sits -1 behind the Pacers with 46.4 FG%. On the glass, the Wizards come in at -3 currently at the 40.7 RPG mark. And in their worst disadvantage, they’re -12 on defense allowing a dismal 115.9 PPG. With Oladipo out for Indiana, however, look for the stats to creep closer for the Wiz.
With both teams being without their stars, we have a pretty balanced matchup between the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards tonight. Despite the Pacers coming in with the majority of the statistical advantages, the numbers even out a bit with Indiana not having Victor Oladipo to counter Bradley Beal — as well as the game being in D.C., where the Wizards are a solid 15-9 for the year.
With that being said, expect a dog-fight and a close result tonight. Coming in, the Pacers are just a -1 favorite, however, they’re still the favorite — despite how close the odds are. I bring that up because I’ll be riding with the Washington Wizards to pull off the upset tonight. Though I like the effectiveness of Indiana’s Bojan Bogdanovic and Domantas Sabonis, I don’t see them keeping pace enough with Beal to steal a victory on the road — though Indiana’s edge on defense will keep the game close, and the win achievable.
With Washington just being a +1 dog, they’ll obviously cover the spread. So now what to do with the over/under: I’d take the under. With Oladipo out, Indiana’s points production is sure to take a drastic hit, and on top of that, the Wizards’ defense is always improved at Capital One Arena. Mix that along with the fact that the Pacers’ defense is solid with or without Oladipo, there’s no way this game is going over the 218 thresholds.