The Washington Wizards need to win against the Indiana Pacers to reach ninth place in the East and make the play-in battle in this conference very interesting. Some two months ago, the majority of the NBA fans believed that the Wizards are heading towards one of the top five picks and that they plan to trade away Bradley Beal and maybe even Russell Westbrook. The word “tanking” was the most frequent one among Washington’s supporters those days. However, the franchise from DC managed not just to reach 10th place, but to be able to significantly improve its situation before the start of the postseason.
Washington Wizards (31-36, +120) have two losses and wins in the previous four games, and all of them have been incredibly interesting. Both of their defeats came by a one-point margin, the first in Dallas against the Mavs, 125-124, and the second against the Milwaukee Bucks, 135-134.
Two wins were posted against the Pacers in DC and Toronto on the road, 131-129 but only after overtime. It was Bradley Beal who turned up in the decisive moments, scoring 14 points in the last quarter and five minutes of overtime. The Wizards’ superstar ended the night with 28 points, enduring the Raptors’ heavy defense throughout 45 minutes.
Another superstar from Washington, Russell Westbrook, posted his 180th triple-double, and now needs just one more to tie with Oscar Robertson. He had 13 points with 17 boards and assists each. Raul Neto was excellent with 25 buckets, five threes, while Robin Lopez scored 24 off the bench.
Indiana Pacers (31-35, -120) are in problems. And those are not concerning only the performances on the floor but also the chemistry in the locker room. It seems that the head coach Nate Bjorkgren lost his authority over players, and additionally, other members of his staff don’t have a good relationship with the players as well.
Following four defeats in five matches, the Pacers won against the Hawks, which was a sort of a surprise, and a big boost of morale for this unit. The game ended 133-126, primarily because of Caris LeVert and his excellent performance in the final period. He ended the game with 31 buckets, some of them being in the critical moments of the event. Apart from delivering buckets, LeVert had 12 assists.
Domantas Sabonis was near a triple-double with 30 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds. TJ McConnell had 19 buckets off the bench and Aaron Holiday 15. The Pacers had 35 assists, one of the best results this season.
Head to Head Games
In both head-to-head games this year, the Wizards posted victories. The first one was in late March in DC, 132-124, and the second last Monday, also in the USA capital. This time the Wizards won 154-141, in one incredible event.
Washington is a -2.5 point underdog, which is a bit surprising for us. They are in much better shape than the Pacers, and their game is much higher. On the other side, Indiana’s problems are masked with a victory over the Hawks, who simply slowed down in the final few minutes of their clash. Our suggestion is to bet on the guests with the spread, as they play far better basketball these days.
Pick: Wizards -2.5
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.