They may have had a fairly favourable schedule but the Indiana Pacers are deservedly accepting the plaudits for a 6-0 start which has left them with the NBA’s final unbeaten mark. Can they make it a lucky seven, and set a franchise record, when they visit the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday?
It’s been tough defence which has propelled the Pacers, holding opponents to league-lows of 84.3 points and 37.8 shooting, while out-scoring their foes by a differential of over 11 per game. On the offensive end, Paul George has been huge, contributing 25.3 ppg, while shooting the ball. Defensively though, Roy Hibbert leads the league’s new defensive impact rankings, based on blocks, steals and defending the basket, a key but partly intangible contribution.
In Brook Lopez, the Nets have a similar roadblock but his colleagues have yet to settle into the revamped system in Brooklyn with Kevin Garnett (6 ppg) and Paul Pierce (13.4) unable to factor offensively and fingers being pointed at Deron Williams for a lack of leadership. Garnett says defence is a key but that’s the glaring weakness for his new club, who are giving up 101 per game in their 2-3 start. On the evidence at hand, Indiana look terrific value at 2.27 for the win and to keep the total points below the line of 186.5, available at 1.91.
One quietly impressive team has been the Orlando Magic in a 3-3 start, with Nikola Vucevic looking ever more like a future All Star. However, four of their first six games were at home and tonight they go on the road to Atlanta to try and break a run of 15 consecutive losses away from Central Florida.
Both teams are scoring at an average of over 100 with the Hawks giving up 95 in their only game in Atlanta to date. Have a punt under the points line of 200, but with Orlando on a back-to-back, go with the hosts on the handicap of -6 at 1.91.
Take Indiana to defeat Brooklyn at 2.27
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