Atlanta at Indiana -8.5 O/U 212
It’s circle the wagons time in Indianapolis tonight as the hungry Pacers take on the bottom-feeder Hawks. Indiana is coming off a humiliating home loss to Utah on Wednesday Night; a 20 point defeat in which Nate McMillan’s squad hit only 3-23 from three point range while allowing the Jazz to hit better than 51% from the floor. The Pacers lost at Atlanta just last week in a flat, lethargic effort. And the quotes coming out of this locker room have bet-on written all over them.
Pacers center Myles Turner, their lone offensive bright spot in the loss to Utah: “It's a game we got to take personally. We're at home. We just got beat by 20 at our crib, that can't happen. We got to take that frustration into this game."
Pacers forward Trevor Booker noted what happened last week: “If you look at Atlanta, they are at the bottom, but you have to overlook that because they've been actually playing well lately. They've been moving the ball well and they beat us last time we played them. So we're going to be coming out and trying to avenge that loss."
Indiana heads on the road following tonight’s game, and they’ve got a brutal schedule ahead: Boston, Philly, Toronto and Washington in the next eight days. Sometimes, I worry about focus in games like this for the home favorite. Not tonight!
Head Coach Nate McMillan, following that sloppy loss at Atlanta last week: “We've been a team that has taken care of the ball, one of the better teams in the league. Tonight, just a lot of one-on-one play, playing in traffic, just loose with the basketball. We had several guys with three or more turnovers. Just not sharp at all out there."
Indiana is expected to get backup point guard Darren Collison back on the floor tonight, key for their second unit productivity. And they’re facing a Hawks team that is likely to be a notch or two demoralized tonight. Atlanta played great basketball -- one of their best games of the year – earlier in the week at Toronto, leading the Raptors into the fourth quarter. They ended up losing by 16, a complete meltdown during crunch time. That’s bad news here for a team that lost by 23 on their last visit to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. A similar margin tonight would be no surprise for this bettor. Take the Pacers.