After a pause on Thanksgiving, the NBA is back to its usual routine. The Brooklyn Nets visit the Indiana Pacers tonight, with Kyrie Irving on board, and after a road win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Indiana plays above expectations, having ten victories and seven defeats. Rick Carlisle’s unit had a victorious stretch that was stopped against the T-Wolves at home two nights ago. They see this game as a chance for redemption.
Brooklyn Nets (9-10, -155) is currently in the middle of a rough schedule, that sees them traveling up and down the country, meeting some of the best teams in the league. Lings, Trail Blazers, Clippers, 76ers, Raptors, they played against all these units.
Durant and the guys defeated the Raptors in Canada, 122-98, displaying an unexpectedly good performance, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Unexpected due to Irving’s tendency to neglect defensive duties. Though, we need to say that the Raptors played without several starters, which was the reason why they lost this easily.
Kyrie had 29 points, 11-for-16, and five threes made, Royce O’Meale had 15, Nic Claxton had 14 and 12 boards, while Ben Simmons added 14 with six assists. Kevin Durant had a slow game, scoring 12 points with seven boards in 33 minutes, not spending too much of his energy.
Indiana Pacers (10-7, +130) had a nice victorious streak until two days ago once the Minnesota Timberwolves beat them in Indianapolis, 115-101. Previously, the Pacers solved teams like the Hornets, Rockets, and the Magic twice, showing that they aren’t among the worst teams in the East like many believe because they defeated those units one after another.
The ceiling of Carlisle’s unit is still unknown, but for the moment, they look like a decent crew, able to create problems and make a playoff push. As said, many saw them near the bottom of the league, but the Pacers are fighting well for now.
They have a very balanced offense, with four players scoring between 17 and 20 points, Haliburton 19.8, Mathurin 19.4, Turner 18.6 and Buddy Hield, 17.2 For some, that is their most significant advantage, for others, is potential because the team doesn’t have a leader.
Head to Head Games
There were already two games this year between the Nets and the Pacers, both of them in Brooklyn. The Pacers won the opening event, 125-116, and the second, two days later, ended with the Nets posting a victory, 116-109.
Mathurin scored 32 points in the Pacers’ win, while Kyrie had 35 on the other end. When the Nets won, Durant had 36 buckets, while Chris Duarte added 30 for the guests.
As said, whenever Kyrie plays, the Nets’ defense is fragile and allows too many points. What happened in Toronto was simply a turn of events, with the Raptors playing more or less with backcourt replacements. The line is at 235.5 points looks low for us, especially because Indiana has several players able to score from those positions. The game will be fast and exciting, mainly because both teams had time to rest and heal, so we expect to see high intensity at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Pick: Over 235.5 points
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.