One of the interesting matchups taking place in the NBA on Friday night is between the Indiana Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder, two teams trying to contend with the best teams in their respective conferences in the playoffs.
The game will be played at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and it is scheduled to begin at 8 PM. ET.
At the beginning of the season, the Pacers were considered one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference after their fast start, but they have since cooled off and are currently in 6th place in the conference, 10.5 games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers.
One of the reasons the Pacers have struggled this season is the fact that they haven’t played very well on the road, which is something they have to find a way to do if they hope to advance deep into the playoffs.
Fortunately for the Pacers, most of the teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings have also struggled on the road which is why the Pacers are just 3 games behind the Boston Celtics who are currently in third place in the Eastern conference.
Paul George, who has fully recovered from a broken leg that sidelined him for most of last season, has been the most important catalyst to Indiana’s success. Despite playing the forward position for the first time in his career, he has been very effective and is averaging 23.3 points per game.
Prior to the All-Star weekend, Paul was struggling with his consistency, but the team is hoping that he has snapped out of his slump after his 41 point performance at the All-Star game.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are proving to their critics that last year’s disappointing campaign was a result of the team being hampered by injuries because they have been one of the best teams in the league this season.
The Thunder currently have the third best record in the NBA, and are nine games behind the Golden State Warriors. While it is unlikely that they will catch Golden State, the Thunder still have a decent chance of finishing with the second best record in the league if the San Antonio Spurs struggle as a result of the injury to Manu Ginobili, who is expected to miss a month while recovering.
Russell Westbrook, who was named the All-Star game MVP for the second consecutive year picked off where he left off last season, and has been almost impossible to stop. A healthy Kevin Durant is also showing the rest of the NBA why he was voted the league MVP two seasons ago, and is averaging 27.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game.
Pacers vs Thunder Betting Lines
Bet365.com has the Thunder favored to win this game by 9 points. The over/under on total points scored is 215 points.
The Indiana Pacers have not looked very impressive lately especially on the road, which is why I can’t pick them to cover the spread or win the game. The smart money is on the Thunder to cover the 9 point spread.
Play: Thunder -9 @ Bet365.com