Suns vs. Pacers Pick NBA – November 18th

The Sixers failed mightily in the National TV debut (and we lost with ‘em) but it WAS an impressive showing for the Wolves, who despite a slow early record, look like they have playoff potential as soon as this season.  Wiggins was sensational with 35 and 10, and it is hard to find a young big with a higher ceiling anywhere in the NBA than the Big Kat, Anthony Davis included…

Meanwhile, still worried about the Warriors?  They went into Toronto last night, put up 123 points in a winning effort and are now 9-2 on the season.  That is a 66+ win pace, which is on par with the best seasons in the history of the NBA.  They get a back-end of a road back to back tonight in Boston.  Win THAT game, and it isn’t unreasonable to start thinking this team could STILL win 70, even after the rough first week.

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Today’s Free Pick:             

Phoenix Suns at Indiana Pacers -6.5

I’ve been critical of the Pacers plenty this season, and deservedly so given their defensive indifference.  They were next to last in defense two weeks ago.  They are now all the way up to 13th in the NBA.   That SOUNDS like a team that is figuring it out, learning to play with each other, and has the potential to make a move up the standings.  Especially when you consider they are still scoring a lot of points.

Meanwhile, Phoenix enters tonight 1-6 on the road and 21st in offensive efficiency (somewhat surprising given the Suns perception) and a dismal 26th in defensive efficiency.  Now fly them halfway across the country for a road game against  well-rested opponent, and things could get ugly.

Indy has looked poor on the road, but very good at home.  They enter with a nice 6-1 home record (0-5 on the road) and have some quality wins in the mix as well, though the Cavs win was without LeBron on the floor.

Indiana looked like they had the potential to be a Top Four seed in the East on paper with the additions of Teague and Thaddeus Young and Al Jefferson, as well as the impressive development of Myles Turner who looks like he could be an Eastern Conference All Star.  The first few weeks we disappointing, but the signs of growth are strong.  They’ve won consecutive games for the first time this season, both by double digits, and I think they’ll get a third such win tonight at home.

Phoenix is woefully erratic at times, relying nearly completely on jump shooters.  They are DEAD LAST in the NBA in assists per game, an indication of the shooting preference from the perimeter, as well as a sign they just don’t get each other EASY enough shots to consistently win games in the NBA.  Especially on the road.  They have an over-crowded back court who at times, look somewhere between ‘unhappy’ and ‘downright miserable’ to all be trying to play together.

Expect that unhappiness to continue tonight.

Free Pick:  Indiana Pacers -6.5