It’s time to get back on track with our NBA picks. We’ve had a few losing days in a row, but still a very positive month of May at 58% ATS. Thursday’s picks suffered when Pacers point guard George Hill was scratched. I’m not making excuses, because injuries happen and no wager is ever going to be with 100% confidence (unless you are an overconfident fool…). But I will tell you honestly, that had George Hill been ruled out prior to my column, there is no way I take the Pacers on the road getting only five points.
The absence of Hill was evident as the Pacers committed sloppy turnover in the fourth quarter, and at times had to resort to Lance Stevenson at the point (in two consecutive possessions he jacked an 18-footer before passing and the next possession committed a turnover). It’s not to knock Stevenson; he’s been excellent this season – he just isn’t a point guard.
Now for the moment of truth – George Hill is unlikely to play again tonight. So do the Pacers still close out the Knicks at home, or are we headed for another Pacers v Knicks Game Seven classic?
New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers -5 (Total: 179.5)
While the Pacers are awaiting a league-mandated concussion test for George Hill, which may or may not come before tip-off, it is probably wise to proceed assuming he is not playing (unless you want to wait until the last minute to make a selection – which isn’t a terrible idea). So, can they manage their turnovers, take care of the basketball and play Pacers-brand hoops tonight at home and close out the series?
I think they can. They still have decisive advantages on the interior, as David West and Roy Hibbert have had their way all series long and should continue to tonight as well. I also like the defense Paul George has played on Carmelo Anthony, with the exception of the tight-whistled Game Six. It’s wasy to attribute the loss to the lack of their point guard, but just as big a factor was the foul trouble that seemingly the entire team was in all game long.
I like Indiana to be physical tonight and to get a little more wiggle room with the officials at home. New York is still a jump shooting team that NEEDS valuable shooting contributions from their role players to win. The old adage that “stars travel well, role players struggle on the road” is said for a reason; more often than not it was true.
Give me the Pacers role players to fill the likely void of George Hill while the Knicks just don’t get quite enough rebounding of offensive help to score enough points to extend the series.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers -5