The 43-31 Indiana Pacers aim to continue their storybook season tonight in a road game against the 54-19 Golden State Warriors (10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday).
Indiana was supposed to be near the bottom of the league this season after trading away star forward Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. However, both have taken massive leaps forward this season and several other members of the team have also done so.
Golden State would love to push a button resetting this season. The Warriors have performed well overall, but they are currently experiencing some terrible injury luck. The squad’s four best players in Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are all suffering injuries. Green is questionable for this game, but don’t expect any of the other three to be in action.
The Pacers have won nine of their last 13 games and the Warriors have lost five of their last eight. Let’s explore what will need to happen for Indiana to pull off a win against the defending NBA champs and then, after perusing the odds from the USA betting websites, make our Indiana Pacers vs Golden State Warriors predictions and picks.
Which Team Can Get to Free-Throw Line More Often?
Recently, neither of those squads have been particularly good at drawing fouls. The NBA’s league average for free-throw attempts per game by teams this season is 21.8.
Golden State hasn’t reached that number once in the last five games and is averaging only 13.8 foul shots per contest in that span. Indiana has only gotten the league average free-throw attempts per game once in the past 11 games.
Free-throw attempts are usually a pretty good indicator of a team’s energy and ability to drive to the basket. Both of these teams mustn’t settle for midrange and three-point jumpers when there are potential layups or fouls waiting if they drive.
Also, the Pacers are missing their best bench player (Domantas Sabonis) and don’t have good reserves outside of him, while the Warriors’ bench is weak with all of the team’s injuries. If one team can force the other into significant foul trouble, the poor depth will be exposed.
Can Nick Young Be Consistent Shooting Threat for the Warriors?
Nick Young usually isn’t a barometer for Golden State’s success because his role with the team is often small. However, with more minutes this month due to injuries, the team has proven to be very dependent on his offensive production.
Swaggy P has averaged 15 points per game on 48.4 percent shooting from the field and 40.9 percent from three-point range in the Warriors’ six March wins. In the five losses, his numbers fall all the way to 7.6 points per game on 23.4 percent from the field and 19.2 percent from three.
Young is a very good spot-up shooter when he is taking smart shots that are in rhythm. He needs to punish the Pacers when they leave him open instead of bailing them out by taking off-balance, well-contested shots.
Will Experience of Pacers’ Backcourt Relative to Golden State’s Show?
Barton is a bit of a wild card for the Nuggets. He is usually a bench player for the team, but injuries to Wilson Chandler and Gary Harris have pushed him into a starting lineup at various points.
His ideal role is as a supercharged sixth man where he can occasionally take over games with his offensive game and athleticism. He is somewhat of a loose cannon in terms of shot selection and overall decision-making, though.
With Harris out, the Nuggets need Barton’s production. However, he needs to be efficient. In March, Barton is averaging 18.7 points and 1.7 turnovers with a 69.9 true shooting percentage in Denver’s seven wins. In five losses, though, those numbers drop to 11.6 points and 2.2 turnovers per game with a 39.3 true shooting percentage.
Our Preview’s Indiana Pacers vs Golden State Warriors Betting Picks & Predictions
The Warriors are quietly 5-8 in their last 13 games against teams above .500. The Pacers aren’t great against good teams, but it is actually a bit of a stretch to distinguish Golden State as a good team right now.
Indiana also has much more motivation in this game. The Pacers are fifth in the East, but 1.5 games out of the third spot. The difference between the fifth and third spot is big, because it means getting home-court advantage in the first round and playing (likely) playing an injury-ravaged Boston Celtics team in the second round versus the tough Toronto Raptors.
- The sportsbooks have not yet published betting lines on this match, but our strong feeling is that the Pacers will defy the likely spread.
- The Warriors aren’t nearly as athletic or explosive in transition because of their absences. Indiana also thrives when taking its time on offense. So, if you want a bet on the total points for this NBA game, then the under might be the best option.
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.