The NBA is set up with another solid day of action on Thursday. Six games will be up on the board throughout August 6. One of these games will be between the Indiana Pacers and the Phoenix Suns. Both teams have done really well since entering the bubble and will look to keep it going with a win. This game will tip off at around 4:00 PM Eastern time.
The Pacers are currently holding onto a record of 42-26, which has them sitting in fifth place of the Eastern Conference. Indiana is currently sitting one game behind the Miami Heat for the fourth seed, while being a game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers will look to move up with a strong win and a loss by the Heat on Thursday afternoon.
Phoenix has earned a record of 29-39 throughout this season, which has them holding onto the twelfth seed of the Western Conference. It is an extremely tight race though, as the Suns are half a game back on the eleventh seed, one game back on the tenth seed and a game and a half behind the ninth seed. Phoenix is also two and a half games back from the eighth seed. The Suns will look to climb closer to a playoff spot with a win in this one.
Both of these teams are in the middle of heated playoff races, with the Suns battling for just a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Phoenix is right on the bubble, but if they stumble just a little bit, it could be too little too late for them. The Pacers will look to play a bit of spoiler as they want to move up on the Heat in the standings on August 6.
The Pacers and the Suns met up once throughout the regular season. Phoenix hosted the matchup on January 22. Kelly Oubre, Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton all had double digit points that night, but it was not enough. T.J. Warren dropped 25 points, while Domantas Sabonis posted 24 points and 13 rebounds. Indiana was able to walk away with a strong 112-87 win.
Since entering the bubble, Indiana has been able to go 3-0. The Pacers started off their seeding games with a strong 127-121 win against the Philadelphia 76ers. Indiana knocked off Washington 111-100 and in their most recent game beat the Orlando Magic 120-109. The Pacers will look to keep it going with another win against Phoenix.
The Suns have also earned a record of 3-0 since the seeding games have begun. Phoenix started out their bubble games against the Washington Wizards and won 125-112. The Suns then met up with the Dallas Mavericks and walked away with a 117-115 win. The most recent matchup for Phoenix was against the Los Angeles Clippers where they won 117-115 again.
Both teams have started out with a 3-0 record in bubble play. They will both look to keep up the strong play as they meet up with each other on Thursday afternoon. I expect both teams to try and create the pace early to control the tempo. The Pacers have been a bit more dominant in their wins, while Phoenix won their last two games as nail biters.
Field Goal Percentage
Indiana had a great field goal percentage throughout the regular season. The Pacers were able to make 47.8 percent of their shots from the field, which is second best in the NBA. Indiana made 36.3 percent of their shots from deep, while making 53.1 percent of their shots inside the arc. The Pacers will look to keep shooting well in this matchup.
The Suns had a solid season when it came to shooting from the field. Phoenix made around 46.5 percent of their shots from the field throughout this season. The Suns made 35.5 percent of their shots from behind the arc. Phoenix also made 52.7 percent of their shots in close.
The Pacers have been the better shooting team this season, while also playing the better defense. Indiana’s opponents have shot 44.9 percent from the field, while the Suns have allowed opposing teams to make 47.4 percent of their shots from the field. If Indiana can get comfortable in their game early, they could be too much for the Suns.
T.J. Warren has had a strong season for Indiana, averaging 19.5 points per game. Malcolm Brogdon has averaged 16.5 points per game. Myles Turner is averaging 12 points and 6.5 rebounds, while Doug McDermott has averaged 10 points per game. Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo will be out for this matchup.
Devin Booker is continuing to have a great season with the Suns. Booker is averaging 26.5 points and 6.5 assists per game. DeAndre Ayton has averaged 19 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Kelly Oubre Jr. is averaging 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Ricky Rubio has averaged 13.5 points and 9 assists, while Aron Baynes, Frank Kaminsky and Dario Saric have all averaged around 11 points per game.
These two teams have had a nice amount of scoring from depth. Phoenix has leaned a lot on Booker in big games, but have seen some players step up. Kelly Oubre Jr. could be out for the Suns in this matchup, which would hurt Phoenix. The Pacers are already missing two key players in Sabonis and Oladipo, which will hurt them on Thursday night.
The Suns and Pacers should have a good matchup on Thursday night as both teams are coming off of three straight wins. Both teams are in tight battles for seeding, which will help bump up the intensity. The Pacers were able to dominate the first game of the season series, and I think they have a chance to win this matchup as well.
BetOnline has Indiana listed as a -2 ½ against the spread for this game. This gives a slight edge to the Pacers, which seems right to me. While Indiana is missing two big players, Indiana had the better team and has the better defense. The Suns are coming off back to back tight wins, which will eventually lead to a loss. I think as a small favorite, the Pacers have more value in this one.