January 15, 2014
By Kevin Rogers
Knicks at Pacers - 8:05 PM EST
New York: 15-23 SU, 16-22 ATS
Indiana: 30-7 SU, 25-12 ATS
These two teams hooked up in the second round of the playoffs last season, as Indiana eliminated New York in six games. The Pacers won and covered all three games played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in that series, while limiting the Knicks to less than 100 points in five of six contests in the playoffs. Now, Indiana looks to beat New York for the second time this season after needing overtime to stave off the Knicks back in November.
Frank Vogel's club began the season at 9-0, but lost its first game in embarrassing fashion at Chicago, 110-94. The Pacers were on the verge of dropping two straight, but Indiana forced overtime at Madison Square Garden and knocked off the Knicks, 103-96 to cash as 6 ½-point road favorites. The Knicks attempted 100 shots from the field, compared to 87 field goal attempts by the Pacers. However, Indiana converted 14 more free throws than New York, while Paul George led the way for the Pacers with 37 points.
Fast-forwarding to now, the Knicks saw their five-game winning streak get snapped at Charlotte on Tuesday night, 108-98, as New York allowed at least 100 points for the first time in six contests. Mike Woodson's team played with no rest following Monday's overtime triumph over the Suns, while losing to the Bobcats for the second time in three attempts this season. From a totals standpoint, New York's six-game 'under' run came to a close with Tuesday's 'over,' while the Knicks head to Indiana on a 4-2 ATS stretch on the highway.
The Pacers won their league-best 30th game of the season in Tuesday's 116-92 dominating effort over the Kings. Indiana easily cashed as 10 ½-point favorites, the eighth consecutive win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the fifth straight cover as double-digit home 'chalk.' In spite of the 'over' against Sacramento, the Pacers are riding a 10-2 stretch to the 'under' the last 12 games, including a 6-2 'under' run at home.
Thunder at Rockets - 9:35 PM EST
Oklahoma City: 28-10 SU, 20-18 ATS
Houston: 25-14 SU, 20-17-2 ATS
In the second playoff rematch of the night, the Thunder tries to get on track after losing three of their last four games. Oklahoma City advanced past Houston in six games of the first round of last season's playoffs, in spite of losing point guard Russell Westbrook to a knee injury. Westbrook is out again for the Thunder after arthroscopic surgery on the same knee, as OKC has split 10 games since he has been sidelined.
In the second game without Westbrook, the Thunder chased out the Rockets, 117-86 to cash as 4 ½-point home favorites with relative ease back on December 29. Former Thunder guard James Harden was limited to eight points on 2-of-9 shooting, while his old teammate Kevin Durant lit up the Rockets for a game-high 33 points and 13 rebounds. Oklahoma City is 3-2 SU/ATS in five games against Houston with Westbrook out, while the 'under' has cashed four times in this span.
The Rockets return home after rallying past the Pelicans last night, 103-100 in New Orleans. Houston couldn't cash tickets as a 5 ½-point favorite, but Kevin McHale's club put together a 3-1 road trip that included victories at Washington and Boston. The Rockets own a 7-2 record in the last nine games at the Toyota Center dating back to early December, while going 3-1-1 ATS as a single-digit favorite.
Oklahoma City has cashed the 'under' in seven of 10 games without Westbrook, while dropping three straight road contests at Memphis, Denver, and Utah. The Thunder has put together just a 3-4 ATS record in the role of an underdog this season, which includes outright victories at San Antonio and Minnesota.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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