There are a lot of playoff seeding battles that have yet to be settled in the NBA. Every night, there are games that impact the standings in meaningful ways. One key game today between the 44-28 Indiana Pacers and 48-22 Golden State Warriors could certainly affect the playoff race (10:30 p.m. ET Thursday).
Indiana are on the final game of a four-game Western Conference road trip today and the team should be anxious to return home. The Pacers have lost three games in a row and eight out of their last 12 contests. They are in a tight battle with the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics for the East’s No. 3 seed.
Golden State has also been inconsistent as of late, going 7-7 in its last 14 games. The Warriors are neck-and-neck with the Denver Nuggets for the West’s top seed.
The Warriors have the much stronger roster but Indiana’s strong record speaks for itself. Let’s discuss this game’s X-factors and then decide on our Indiana Pacers vs Golden State Warriors predictions, taking into account the betting odds from the USA online betting firms.
Is Tyreke Evans Turning a Corner?
The Pacers’ signing of Evans last summer got rave reviews from pundits. Indiana needed more playmakers to help ease Victor Oladipo’s burden on offense, since he had to do so much for the team in 2017-18.
As it turns out, the Pacers have actually been pretty good both with and without Oladipo this season. They have done that on the strength of an elite defense and breakout offensive campaigns from Domantas Sabonis and Bojan Bogdanovic. Evans has actually been a non-factor for most of the season.
In fact, Evans had actually been pretty terrible entering Tuesday’s game against the Clippers. He had averaged just 4.3 points and 1.7 assists per game in his previous seven contests leading up to it, compiling a terrible true-shooting percentage of 30.1
Against Los Angeles, he busted out for 19 points and eight assists in 29 minutes on 9-of-16 shooting. Especially with Pacers guard Darren Collison questionable for this game, Indiana needs Evans’ slashing and playmaking if it wants to produce enough offense against the tough Warriors.
Will Golden State Keep its Ball Movement Focus?
The Warriors have some amazing individual offensive players on their team. However, they are still at their best when the ball is moving and lots of players get touches. The squad leads the NBA in assists per game (29.2).
Golden State is much better when that assist number is higher rather than lower. The Dubs have a 15-2 record when they total at least 34 assists, but they are just 4-9 when they pass for 24 assists or fewer.
Indiana is too good of a defensive team for the Warriors to rely heavily on individuals just creating shots for themselves. Golden State needs to make the Pacers’ defense move and put the pressure on Indiana’s ability to communicate and stay alert on that end.
Can the Pacers’ Bigs Stay Aggressive on Offense?
One of the Pacers’ strengths as a team are their versatile big men. Myles Turner, Thaddeus Young and Domantas Sabonis all have strengths that make them worthy of significant minutes and big roles with the team.
The Warriors, even with DeMarcus Cousins likely returning, are relatively weak on the frontline compared to what they have on the perimeter. Cousins and Draymond Green are both very good players, but Cousins could be limited due to his ankle soreness and both guys can be prone to foul trouble. Golden State’s other bigs are guys best suited to playing only 15 minutes per game or so.
Turner, Young and Sabonis need to use their athleticism and size to assert a Pacers advantage in this game.
Our Preview’s Indiana Pacers vs. Golden State Warriors Predictions & Betting Picks
The Warriors have been weirdly average at home this season, as evidenced by their 12-21-1 home record against the spread. The boost they have often gotten at Oracle Arena seems to be minimized this year.
Golden State is also playing with a lot of apathy right now. I think a well-coached, cohesive roster like Indiana’s can push them to the limit in this game. The Pacers are certainly the more motivated team, since the two-time defending champion Warriors are probably focusing on the playoffs already.
The Warriors are rightfully favored by the sportsbooks in this game, but the Pacers’ ability to lock down on defense will make things tough for Golden State. This will be especially true as the Dubs attempt to reintegrate DeMarcus Cousins into their offense. So these are our advised Indiana Pacers vs Golden State Warriors predictions for this preview:
- The Warriors are a heavy favorite in this game, with an advantage of 11 or 11.5 points. You can feel good about betting on the Pacers +11pts @ -110 with Bovada.
- Indiana will play motivated defense in this game against a Warriors team as it attempts to snap a losing skid. Both teams are also playing their third game in four days, so expect a slower pace. Bet the under 220 total points @ -105 with Bovada.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.