INDIANA PACERS (32-7)
at GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (26-16)
Tip-off: Monday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Even, Total: 197.5
After completing a perfect 4-0 homestand, Indiana goes back on the road Monday night to face a slumping Warriors club.
Indiana is not known for having an explosive offense, but it has scored more than 105 points in three straight games, averaging 113.0 PPG on 50.2% FG during this offensive surge. The Pacers' league-leading defense (88.2 PPG allowed) hasn't given up 100 points since Dec. 16, allowing a mere 85.3 PPG during this 15-game stretch where they are 12-3 SU (11-4 ATS). Golden State is just 2-3 SU (1-4 ATS) in its past five games, during which it allowed 123 points to the Nuggets and 127 points to the Thunder. But the Warriors really clamped down on the defensive end on Saturday when they held the Pelicans to 87 points on 38.6% FG in a 10-point road win. Indiana holds the best record in the NBA in both SU (32-7, 82%) and ATS (27-12, 69%), which includes an 11-6 mark (SU and ATS) on the road. Golden State is a mediocre 20-21-1 ATS overall, and although it holds a strong 12-5 SU home record, the club is just 6-10-1 ATS in Oakland (38%, 6th-worst in NBA). The clubs split two meetings last season with the home team winning and covering in each contest, but the Pacers still hold a commanding 16-8 SU (18-6 ATS) advantage in this series since 2001. The Over is 16-8 (67%) during this timeframe. Although Indiana benefits from the fact that NBA road favorites coming off 2+ straight home wins in a game involving two winning teams are 34-10 ATS (77%) in the past five seasons, bettors can also side with Golden State, because top-level (75%+ win pct.) road favorites having covered four of their past five ATS are just 25-60 ATS (29%) since 1996 when facing a team with a winning record. There are no significant injuries for either team in this game.
Can the Pacers extend their win streak Monday in a tough environment? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The five experts have been strong on NBA Best Bets since the start of December, going 55% ATS (96-78-1). StatFox Dave has an excellent 69% ATS (24-11) Best Bets record since Dec. 1 and is 58% ATS (34-25) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Zach has a strong 62% ATS mark (21-13-1) since Dec. 1 and is currently 54% ATS (32-27-1) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Scott is 60% ATS (15-10) in Best Bets since Dec. 16, while StatFox Gary is 54% ATS (13-11) since Dec. 14. StatFox Brian has a 54% ATS (14-12) Best Bets record since Dec. 12.
Indiana not only leads the NBA in scoring defense, but it has allowed a mere 40.9% FG and 32.1% threes, which are both tops in the league. Some of this can be attributed to its 5.9 blocks per game (4th in NBA), while the club does a great job of limiting easy put-back baskets by ranking second in the league in rebounding margin (+4.5 RPG). This boardwork makes up for the Pacers' lackluster 98.1 PPG of offense (20th in NBA) despite a strong 45.7% FG clip (10th in league). However, the team makes a mere 43.5% FG on the road for the season, and has averaged a pitiful 83.7 PPG on 39.9% FG in three road games this month where it is 0-3 ATS (1-2 SU). SF Paul George (23.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.9 SPG) began his team's homestand with a horrendous eight points on 2-of-14 shooting, but he has caught fire in three games since, scoring 30.7 PPG on 58% FG and 62% threes (13-of-21). But George has been way off the mark in his three career trips to Oracle Arena, averaging a terrible 5.0 PPG on 4-of-19 FG (21%) and 0-for-7 threes. This includes scoring zero points (0-for-7 FG, 0-for-5 threes) in 29 minutes during last season's loss in Oakland. C Roy Hibbert (12.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.6 BPG) has been in a scoring funk in the past five games with a mere 7.8 PPG on 33% FG. But after averaging only 5.0 RPG and 1.0 BPG over a four-game stretch, he made his presence felt on Saturday with 11 rebounds and five blocks. Hibbert has been successful down low in seven career meetings with Golden State, averaging 11.4 PPG (49% FG), 8.7 RPG and 3.0 BPG. PF David West (12.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG) has scored 13.0 PPG on 62% FG during the four-game homestand, but has a paltry five rebounds in his past two games combined. However, the Warriors had no answer for West last season, as he tallied 25.5 PPG (69% FG), 7.5 RPG, 3.0 SPG and 3.0 APG in the two meetings. The Pacers have also gotten great play from versatile SG Lance Stephenson (13.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 5.2 APG), as he has won seven straight games he has played in, averaging 16.6 PPG (56% FG), 7.3 RPG and 5.0 APG, which includes a monstrous 22 points, 12 boards and seven assists in Saturday's win.
Golden State scores 103.9 PPG (10th in NBA) on an efficient 46.4% FG (6th in league) that jumps to 47.1% FG at home. The Warriors' greatest strength is their long-range shooting that ranks second in the NBA in made three-pointers (9.5 per game) and third in three-point accuracy (38.7%), but they commit the second-most turnovers in the league with 16.5 per game. With Indiana having the size advantage in the paint, Golden State will look to speed up the game and attempt plenty of threes. Defensively, this team ranks 12th in the NBA in points allowed (99.4 PPG) by allowing only 43.5% FG (4th in league) and 34.8% threes (8th in NBA). It also does a great job on the glass, as its +3.5 RPG margin ranks fourth in the league. PF David Lee (19.2 PPG, 9.9 RPG) has 22 double-doubles this season, but has just one in his past five games. Lee has struggled scoring over the past two seasons in this series though, scoring just 11.8 PPG on 36% FG against Indiana, but cleaning the glass efficiently with 11.0 RPG in these four meetings. C Andrew Bogut (8.0 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.8 BPG) was a big reason his team held New Orleans to a mere 87 points on Saturday, as Bogut contributed 10 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. Although his career numbers versus the Pacers are strong (15.3 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.6 BPG), Bogut hasn't faced them since the 2010-11 season when he was with Milwaukee. Superstar SG Stephen Curry (23.5 PPG, 9.2 APG, 4.6 RPG, 1.9 SPG) makes 39% of his threes this season, but has been cold in his past eight games with a 41% FG clip and 29% threes. He has also been mistake-prone during this stretch (4.8 TOPG), but Curry had zero turnovers in 38 minutes in Saturday's victory, pouring in 28 points, eight assists and six rebounds. He was on fire in last season's series against the Pacers, averaging 29.0 PPG on 62% FG and 67% threes (10-of-15), but turned the ball over 10 times in the two meetings. Golden State's other long-range shooting threat is SG Klay Thompson (19.1 PPG) who knocks down 3.0 threes per game on a 42% clip. But he had an off-night on Saturday, as he made just 3-of-14 FG (2-of-7 threes) to finish with eight points, which marks Thompson's second-lowest output of the season. But Thompson averaged 17.5 PPG (44% threes) against Indiana last season, and will be counted on to provide a healthy scoring punch on Monday night.