The Philadelphia 76ers will have to wait for one more game to determine which team they’d face in the first round of the playoffs. That will be between the Indiana Pacers and the Washington Wizards, who will be engaging in a win-or-go-home affair this Friday.
Catch this game live on Friday, May 21, at 8 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Washington Wizards (34-38, 19-17 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Russell Westbrook
- SG: Raul Neto
- SF: Bradley Beal
- PF: Rui Hachimura
- C: Alex Len
It would have been nice to see Russell Westbrook go up against Kevin Durant in the first round of the playoffs, but that won’t happen after Washington fell prey to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, 118-100.
Westbrook and Bradley Beal both had subpar shooting performances in that game. Westbrook went 6 of 18 for 20 points, while Beal, obviously bothered by a bad hammy, had 22 on 10/25 shooting from the floor. The most important thing right now for Washington is the status of Beal’s hamstring.
Westbrook can go from zero to hero at any given time and you can expect the same energy from him no matter what, but it’s Beal’s health that could make or break it for the Wizards, who was an atrocious 3 of 21 from deep in the Boston game.
One big encouraging sign for the Wizards for the Pacers game is the fact that they went 3-0 against Indiana in the regular season. The Wizards are also 7-0-1 against the spread in their last eight games after a defeat.
ROAD TEAM: Indiana Pacers (34-38, 21-15 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Malcolm Brogdon
- SG: Justin Holiday
- SF: Doug McDermott
- PF: Oshae Brissett
- C: Domantas Sabonis
You got to give it to the Pacers. Despite receiving sudden news that Caris LeVert won’t be able to play on Tuesday against the Charlotte Hornets because of health and safety protocols, the Pacers went out there and laid the smackdown on LaMelo Ball and company in a 144-117 win at home.
Doug McDermott felt like he’s back in Creighton, as he pumped out 21 points on 7-9 shooting, while Domantas Sabonis came up big with 14 points and an insane total of 21 boards. Malcolm Brogdon got 16 points and eight assists in his return after a long absence, though he’s still not 100% fine.
In any case, the Pacers are on a groove, which the Wizards can’t say about themselves. LeVert is not expected to play against Washington, but Indiana is hopeful it can get another great showing from Oshae Brissett, who had 23 points with three triples in the Charlotte game.
After scoring nearly 150 points on 55.2 FG%, the Pacers must be licking their chops over the prospect of taking on Washington’s leaky defense which is one of the worst in the NBA. The Pacers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games after taking a full day of rest.
Sure, the Pacers went 0-3 against the Wizards in the regular season, but they looked a whole lot better playing with less in the last game than Washington. Still, I’m seeing Washington abusing Indiana’s lack of a legitimate rim protector and interior defense that’s 30th in the NBA. Take the Wizards to win and cover -3.5
I would have taken the Over if this was a regular-season game. For this one, I’m picking Under (239.0).