The Phoenix Suns are welcoming the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night, attempting to extend their winning streak to six games. According to many, that won’t be too big of a problem for the hosts because the Pacers’ situation isn’t great at all. Apart from injuries, the franchise from Indianapolis is ripped apart by trade talks, with several of their big-time players included in the same. As for the Suns, they are doing their thing, leading the Western Conference and the league at the moment.
Indiana Pacers (17-29, +650) went against all the odds to defeat the Golden State Warriors, who were enormous favorites a few nights ago. After defeating the LA Lakers at the Crypto.com Arena, the Pacers took down the Warriors after OT at Chase Center, 121-117.
After enduring the opening, the Pacers were constantly breathing down the Warriors’ neck, trading blows with one of the top contenders for the title, before stunning the entire arena in the overtime. The rookie Chris Duarte had 27 points, 10-for-16, and added seven boards and three steals. He looked like a veteran on the floor, and we can say that the Pacers got a long-term leader in this guy.
Justin Holiday added 16 points, Isaiah Jackson 15 off the bench, while Jeremy Lamb scored 14. Goga Bitadze was ejected late in the game, but until then, he was very good under the rim, with 13 points and nine boards with five assists.
Phoenix Suns (35-9, -1000) have the best record in the league. They used GSW’s recent slips to create a notable gap in the standings and improve prospects in the race for the top seed. The Suns are coming back home following a very nasty tour that saw them visiting Toronto, San Antonio, and Dallas, among other places.
The most recent victory came against the Mavericks, 109-101. Luka and the boys were in the lead until the very end, but the Suns’ experience and quality prevailed in the deciding moments.
Devin Booker didn’t have a good shooting percentage behind the arc, 1-for-8, but he delivered 28 points, six assists, and five rebounds. Chris Paul had 20 buckets and 11 assists, while Jae Crowder scored 13, having a very big impact on the defensive side of the court. Cameron Payne and Mikal Bridges had 12 points each.
Head to Head Games
The Suns visited Indiana on January 14, and they won that matchup without some trouble, 114-92. Devin Booker was on a rampage with 35 points, putting on a show, and presenting an enigma for the Pacers defense. Justin Holiday scored a team-high for the home side, 25 buckets.
Even though the Pacers have two wins in a row, it is really hard to believe that they might surprise another title contender in its own house. They are without Sabonis, Brogdon, and several other guys who are important parts of their rotation. On the other side, Ayton isn’t available, but the Suns know how to play without him. The hosts’ win is the first solution, but it won’t bring too much money. The second is for them to cover an 11.5-point spread, with the odds on that at -110.
Pick: Suns -11.5
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.