Brooklyn - Indiana
The Brooklyn Nets had ambitions to win the NBA title in 2014. Now, following the latest calamitous twist to their campaign, they will fear not even making the play-offs.
New York’s newbies host the league-leading Indiana Pacers on Monday with yet another re-adjustment to make after the season-ending injury to Brook Lopez whose broken foot robs Brooklyn of their only consistent performer.
So far, the Nets are 2-7 without the All Star this term but his long-term absence will be felt. The centre is averaging a team-high 20.7 points and has a Player Impact Estimate per NBA.com of 15.3%, the highest contribution of anyone else on the roster.
With Lopez on the sidelines, that translates into a drop in net efficiency rating of -5.8 with the bulk of that loss felt on the defensive end. With Brooklyn already giving up 102.5 points per game, that number could go even higher in the short-term.
It should make life easy for Indiana with Roy Hibbert having little in his way and the Pacers already scoring above their own average of 98.5 in four of their last five. With the total points line at 192.5, there’s every chance the visitors can run riot and they look great value on the handicap of -6.5 at 1.92.
San Antonio - Toronto
With four consecutive road wins, the Toronto Raptors are no longer the pushovers they once were and since the trade that shipped out Rudy Gay to Sacramento, they’ve been on a 4-1 streak. The biggest victory was an upset of Oklahoma City on Sunday but can they now repeat the feat on their travels at the San Antonio Spurs?
The Spurs lost by 13 to OKC the previous night but Kawhi Leonard was out. With the Raptors on song, take their handicap of +10.5 at 1.98 and go over the total points line of 202.5 at 1.87.
Take Indiana on the handicap of -6.5 against Brooklyn at 1.92
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