The defence of the Indiana Pacers has proved tricky for the Miami Heat to break down but the champions will make another attempt to crack the code on Friday night. But they’ll have to do better than three weeks ago, when the Pacers' pressure on LeBron James paid dividends in an 87-77 win.
Since then neither team has been in sparkling form, with Indiana going 5-5 over their last ten games and Miami barely better at 6-4. But the Pacers still have the NBA’s tightest D, giving up 89.9 points per night, and they’ve been more successful than anybody about in down the Heat.
That’s a necessity for a team that is only 1-8 when their opponents score 100 points or more. But a deeper look at Indiana’s record flags up the fact that they’re a measly 12-14 against teams who have .500 records or better. The Pacers are +2.5 on the handicap here but it's better to have a punt on the points total staying under 183.0 at 1.91.
Phoenix rallied from 13 down in the final quarter to beat the LA Lakers on Wednesday and they’ll try to take that forward into tonight’s meeting with Dallas. Dirk Nowitzki sat out on Thursday as Golden State edged the Mavericks 100-97, dropping his side to just 7-18 on the road this season. But one of those wins came in Phoenix – minus the German – as OJ Mayo scored 23 in a 97-94 victory. So it’s still worth a look at the Mavs at +2.5 on the handicap at 1.91.
Philadelphia host Sacramento looking for a seventh win in eight meetings with the Kings. The 76ers took those victories by an average of over 18 points. The Kings' only win in their last six has been over woeful Washington – otherwise, they’ve not come within nine. Have a punt on Philly at -6 on the handicap despite their injury woes.
Bet of the day: Take Dallas on the handicap over Phoenix