Game 1 - Wizards at Pacers
May 5, 2014
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Washington (48-39) at Indiana (60-29)
Eastern Conference Second Round
Tip-off: Monday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Sportsbook.ag Line and Total: Indiana -4 & 184
After escaping past eighth-seeded Atlanta in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the top-seeded Pacers will try to win their third straight game when they host the well-rested Wizards in their series opener on Monday.
Washington won a playoff series for the first time since 2005 when it disposed of Chicago in Game 5 on April 29. The Wizards are now 8-1 (SU and ATS) in their past nine games, but they have not been very successful at Indiana in recent history, losing 12 straight trips (3-7-2 ATS) to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The two visits this season were both blowouts, with the Pacers prevailing 93-73 on Nov. 29 and 93-66 on Jan. 10. But Indiana did lose its most recent meeting in this series on March 28 in the nation's capital, which sent the club on an 8-9 SU (7-10 ATS) spiral in its past 17 games, which is unusual for a top seed in a conference.
Despite the two lopsided losses in this series, Washington has been an excellent road team this season at 25-19 SU (29-15 ATS), including 21-11 ATS (66%) as a road underdog. But this club could be a little rusty, and it has not played well with tons of rest this season, going 9-11 SU (7-12-1 ATS) in 20 games preceded by at least two off-days. While the Pacers are a stellar 37-8 SU at home this season, they are just 23-21-1 ATS in these games, and they have also been subpar with little rest, going 27-39 ATS (41%) with less than two off-days before a game.
Two other betting trends to consider are that the Wizards are a phenomenal 18-2 ATS on the road when playing six or less games in a 14-day span under Randy Wittman, and Indiana is 0-11 ATS versus good ball-handling teams (14 or less TOPG) in the second half of this season. But not all is hopeless for the Pacers, who are 45-30 ATS (60%) as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points over the past two seasons, and 31-16 ATS (66%) at home versus good three-point shooting teams (36%+ threes) in this same timeframe. There are no significant injuries for Washington, while Indiana remains without backup C Andrew Bynum (knee).
Despite a first-round series versus the Bulls, one of the stingiest defenses in the NBA, Washington averaged 94.6 PPG on 44.0% FG and 38.3% threes. The club was also very efficient with its ball-handling, as it tallied 20.4 APG and only 10.4 TOPG. On defense it held Chicago to just 90.0 PPG on 42.2% FG and 33.3% threes, thanks in part to active hands that produced 8.2 SPG and 6.6 BPG. Five Washington players averaged double-figure scoring in the first round, led by SG Bradley Beal (19.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.2 APG in playoffs) who shot better from three-point range (46%) than from inside the arc (43%). Beal shot horribly versus the Pacers during the regular season at 8-of-31 FG (26%), but he did make 4-of-7 three-pointers. PG John Wall (18.8 PPG, 6.8 APG, 4.6 RPG, 2.2 SPG in playoffs) has been the key to this team's success all season, and his poor shooting at Indiana (8-for-29 FG, 28%) was a big reason his team got blown out twice. But he was much better in the March 28 win versus the Pacers, scoring 20 points (9-of-21 FG) with eight assists. SF Trevor Ariza (15.6 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.2 SPG in playoffs) shot 49% FG and 46% threes in the postseason series with the Bulls, but the Pacers held him to a horrible 31% FG in the regular season series. Ariza did chip in 5.0 RPG and 3.0 APG in those three meetings though. With these three shooters unable to get many open looks in the season series, a bigger scoring onus may be placed on the Washington frontcourt. PF Nene Hilario (17.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.8 SPG in playoffs) faced the Pacers only once this season, scoring 12 points with five boards and four assists in 29 minutes.
As the team's main low-post scorer, Nene will need to continue his playoff production against Indiana's massive frontcourt. C Marcin Gortat (10.8 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.0 BPG in playoffs) will also be a key in this series as he looks to take advantage of a slumping Roy Hibbert on the offensive end of the court. The 6-foot-11 Gortat cedes three inches to Hibbert, but still managed a double-double in the season series with 12.7 PPG and 10.3 RPG. PF Trevor Booker (5.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.6 BPG in playoffs) has been the most productive bench player for Washington this postseason, and he also played well versus the Pacers this season with 4.3 PPG on 50% FG and 5.7 RPG in his 20.7 MPG.
Indiana had an up-and-down series to outlast Atlanta in seven games, averaging 93.4 PPG on 45.0% FG and 36.2% threes. Turnovers (14.9 per game) were a bit problematic, but the defense remained tough by limiting the Hawks to 92.4 PPG on 38.5% FG (34.3% threes), while compiling 8.0 SPG and 6.3 BPG. SF Paul George (23.9 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 4.6 APG, 2.4 SPG in playoffs) was unstoppable versus Atlanta, as he averaged 26.0 PPG and 10.3 RPG during the final four games of the series, leading his team to three wins in that timeframe. Although he averaged 16.7 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 3.3 APG and 3.0 SPG versus the Wizards this season, George had trouble getting off his shot, making only 33% FG in the three games. PF David West (13.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 4.9 APG, 1.6 BPG, 1.3 SPG in playoffs) scored only four points (1-of-7 FG) with six turnovers in Saturday's Game 7 win, but he helped out in other areas by grabbing 13 rebounds with six blocks, four assists and two steals. West played well versus Washington this season too with 12.7 PPG (53% FG) and 6.7 RPG in 29.0 MPG.
SG Lance Stephenson (15.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 3.0 APG in playoffs) was a bit inconsistent in the first round of the playoffs, but was a huge part of his team's final two victories with 20.0 PPG on 60% FG with 11.5 PPG. He shot just 38% FG versus the Wizards this season, but really filled up the stat sheet with 10.3 PPG, 11.7 RPG and 6.3 APG in the three meetings. PG George Hill (13.0 PPG, 4.0 APG, 3.6 RPG in playoffs) has contributed at least 14 points and four assists in each of his past four games, and he was able to contain John Wall for the most part during the regular-season series. Hill also contributed 8.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.3 APG and 1.3 SPG in those three meetings. All-Star C Roy Hibbert (5.3 PPG on 37% FG, 3.7 RPG, 1.3 BPG in playoffs) finally awoke from his month-long slumber in Saturday's Game 7, scoring 13 points (6-of-10 FG) with seven boards and five blocks in 31 productive minutes. He didn't play particularly well versus Washington's quicker frontcourt though, averaging 11.0 PPG on 39% FG with only 5.3 RPG and 2.0 BPG in 30.3 MPG. PG C.J. Watson (8.1 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.4 SPG in playoffs) shot only 43% from two-point range versus the Hawks, but made 45% of his threes. Watson was on fire from all areas of the court in his two meetings versus the Wizards this season, tallying 23 points on 9-of-11 FG and 4-of-6 threes.
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