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NBA Betting News and Notes Wednesday, May 7

NBA Betting News and Notes Wednesday, May 7

NBA Playoffs

Washington won five of six playoff games, look like stronger team early in this series; home team won five of last six Wizard-Pacer games- Wiz snapped 10-game skid here in Game 1 (4-6 vs spread in last 10). Indiana is 4-4 in playoffs so far; under is 27-19 in their home games this season. Seven of last eight Wizard games went over total- three of four series games this season stayed under the total. Pacers need production from Hibbert, who hasn't scored in three of last four games. ,

Paul was 8-9 from arc, Clippers were 15-29 in easy Game 1 win where Thunder bench shot just 12-39 from floor (starters were combined -76 in Game 1). Clippers are 2-3 vs OC this season, winning two of three here. Over is 9-3 in last 12 series games. Clippers are 26-18 vs spread on road, 1-4 vs spread in last five, but they covered five of last six games as a dog, Six of last seven Thunder games went over total. Ibaka's nine shots were 3rd-most on OC in Game 1- they need a third scorer ro step up.

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Game 2 - Wizards at Pacers

Washington (49-39) at Indiana (60-30) Line and Total: Indiana -4, Total: 185

The sizzling-hot Wizards look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead over the top-seeded Pacers when the clubs meet in Wednesday's Game 2.

Washington improved to 9-1 (SU and AS) in its past 10 games when it upset Indiana 102-96 in the opener of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Monday night. The Wizards dominated the boards with a 53-36 rebounding advantage over the Pacers, including 17-6 on the offensive glass, and shot lights-out from behind the arc, draining 10-of-16 threes (63%). Washington got great offensive balance with six players netting at least 12 points, while Indiana shot only 40.7% FG and had no player score more than 18 points.

The Wizards' win on Monday snapped a 12-game SU losing skid (3-7-2 ATS) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The previous two visits this season were both blowouts, with the Pacers prevailing 93-73 on Nov. 29 and 93-66 on Jan. 10. Washington has been an excellent road team this season at 26-19 SU (30-15 ATS), including 22-11 ATS (67%) as a road underdog. This club has also thrived with little rest this season, going 39-27-1 ATS (59%) with 0-to-1 days off in between games.

While Indiana is a strong 37-9 SU at home this season, they are just 23-22-1 ATS in these games, and they have also been subpar with little rest, going 27-40 ATS (40%) with less than two off-days before a game.

Two other betting trends to consider are that the Wizards are a phenomenal 11-1 ATS on the road when playing six or less games in a 14-day span this season, and Indiana is 0-12 ATS versus good ball-handling teams (14 or less TOPG) in the second half of this season. But not all is bleak for the Pacers, who are 21-8 SU (15-13-1 ATS) after an SU loss this season, and all NBA favorites that play good defense (41.5% to 43.5% FG allowed) against a poor defense (45.5% to 47.5%), after three straight games allowing a shooting percentage of 42% or less are 70-41 ATS (63%) since 1996.

There are no significant injuries for Washington, while Indiana remains without backup C Andrew Bynum (knee).

Although the Wizards have shot just 43.9% on two-point FG tries in the postseason, they have drained 42.3% threes. This outstanding long-range shooting is a product of great teamwork, with the club dishing out 20.8 APG and turning the ball over only 11.5 times per game. Washington's team defense has also been strong in the playoffs, where it has limited opponents to an NBA-low 91.0 PPG on 42.0% FG, while also compiling 8.0 SPG and 6.8 BPG.

SG Bradley Beal (20.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.7 SPG in playoffs) opened this series with a bang, scoring a game-high 25 points with seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals. Beal made 8-of-18 shots (44%), which was quite an improvement from his 8-of-31 shooting (26%) versus the Pacers during the regular season. While Beal was the team's best all-around player, backcourt mate PG John Wall (17.8 PPG, 7.2 APG, 4.7 RPG, 2.0 SPG in playoffs) did an excellent job of controlling the offense with nine assists, one turnover and a game-high rating of +19. Those numbers made up for Wall's poor shooting night (4-of-14 FG), dropping him to a dismal 12-of-43 FG (28%) in three games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season.

SF Trevor Ariza (16.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.2 SPG in playoffs) had no trouble with his shot in this arena, as he drained 7-of-10 FG, including a perfect 6-for-6 from three-point range. This upped Ariza's postseason shooting numbers to an impressive 52% FG and 56% threes.

The rest of Washington's frontcourt also played well with C Marcin Gortat (11.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.2 BPG in playoffs) posting a double-double (12 points, 15 boards) and PF Nene Hilario (17.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.4 SPG in playoffs) contributing 15 points, six rebounds and a +18 rating. This duo also combined for five blocked shots and took Roy Hibbert completely out of the game.

PF Drew Gooden (2.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG in 10.8 MPG in playoffs) was also spectacular off the bench with 12 points and 13 rebounds (7 offensive) in just 18 minutes of action. As long as the Wizards continue to share the basketball (23 assists on 35 field goals in Game 1), and attack the glass, they have a great chance at pulling off another upset in Game 2.

Indiana's offense wasn't a juggernaut during the regular season (96.7 PPG on 44.9% FG and 35.7% threes), and it hasn't been good in the playoffs either with 93.8 PPG on 44.4% FG (37.3% threes). Turnovers have also caused problems in the postseason (14.6 TO per game), but the defense has carried the club by holding opponents to 93.6 PPG on a meager 38.9% FG (36.2% threes).

SF Paul George (23.1 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 4.6 APG, 2.3 SPG in playoffs) had been averaging 26.0 PPG and 10.3 RPG in his previous four games, but the Wizards really made him work for his points on Monday, as George, who shot 33% FG during the regular-season versus Washington, finished with 18 points on 4-of-17 FG. Although George did have six rebounds and five assists, he finished the game with a horrible minus-13 rating.

The only player with a worse rating than George was All-Star C Roy Hibbert (4.6 PPG on 36% FG, 3.3 RPG, 1.4 BPG in playoffs), who continues to crush his team's chances of a deep playoff run. In 18 uninspiring minutes in Game 1, Hibbert had zero points (0-for-2 FG), zero rebounds, two blocks, two turnovers, five fouls and a hideous minus-17 rating. If Hibbert continues to give the Pacers nothing, they are in serious trouble.

PF David West (13.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.5 BPG, 1.1 SPG in playoffs) helped pick up the slack for Hibbert with 12 rebounds (3 offensive) and a team-best +11 rating to go along with 15 points (6-of-15 FG). PG George Hill (13.6 PPG, 3.6 APG, 3.6 RPG in playoffs) was the only Indiana starter to make more than 40% of his field goals on Monday, as he scored 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting. But Hill dished out only one assist in his 33 minutes of action and was outplayed by opposing point guard John Wall.

SG Lance Stephenson (15.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.9 APG in playoffs) had his moments in Game 1 with 12 points, six boards, two steals and a +9 rating, but he also turned the ball over four times and made only 4-of-13 FG. The Pacers' bench played pretty well in the series opener, combining for 33 points on 13-of-23 FG (57%).

PF Luis Scola (8.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG in playoffs) and PG C.J. Watson (8.3 PPG, 1.4 SPG in playoffs) were the main contributors with 12 points (6-of-11 FG), and nine points (3-of-5 FG), respectively.

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Game 2 - Clippers at Thunder

L.A. Clippers (61-28) at Oklahoma City (63-26) Line and Total: Oklahoma City -5, Total: 214.5

After an embarrassing Game 1 performance, the Thunder will look to even their second-round series with the Clippers on Wednesday night.

It is hard to predict what will happen in postseason basketball, but not many could have guessed that 5.5-point underdog Los Angeles would come out on the road against second-seeded Oklahoma City on Monday night and blow them out by 17 points. The Clippers took a bloated 69-52 halftime lead after dropping 39 points on the home team in the first quarter and eventually won the game by a score of 122-105. They hit 54.9% of their field goals in the contest, including going 15-for-29 (52%) from behind the arc. Chris Paul made 6-of-6 threes in the first quarter and finished the night off with a game-high 32 points on 12-of-14 shooting (8-for-9 threes).

The Thunder just could not keep up, shooting 45.9% on field goal attempts and getting a team-high 29 points from Russell Westbrook. Surprisingly, the Oklahoma City won the rebounding battle by a large margin, grabbing 47 boards (15 offensive) compared to just 31 rebounds (6 offensive) by the Clippers, but turned the ball over nine more times (17-8).

The win boosted L.A.'s road record to 25-20 SU (26-18 ATS) for the entire season, while the Thunder dropped to 36-10 SU (25-20 ATS) in front of their fans. The victory also gave an edge to L.A. on the season series, as the clubs split the four regular-season games (both SU and ATS) and have now split their past 12 games against each other both SU and ATS (6-6) going back three seasons. In that time, the Over is 9-3 overall while being 5-1 when the teams have matched up in Oklahoma City.

Both teams have positive betting trends for Game 2, as Clippers head coach Doc Rivers is 27-7 ATS (79%) on the road versus excellent free-throw shooting teams (80%+ FT) in his coaching career, but the Thunder are difficult to beat twice in a row, going 36-19 ATS (66%) off an upset loss as a favorite over the past three seasons.

SF Hedo Turkoglu (back) is still expected to be out for Los Angeles in Wednesday’s game.

The Clippers once again showed the world why they were the best offensive team during the regular season with their Monday night performance, and are now averaging an incredible 112.2 PPG (48% FG) in the postseason thus far.

PG Chris Paul (19.3 PPG, 9.1 APG, 2.8 SPG in playoffs) was a true leader in Game 1, coming out of the gate to score 17 points in the opening quarter and finishing with a strong double-double (32 points, 10 assists). The one negative is that he did not get a steal in the game after averaging 3.1 SPG in the first round.

PF Blake Griffin (23.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.6 SPG in playoffs) had his fifth performance of 20+ points over the first eight postseason games after tallying 23 points on Monday night, but has been getting far fewer boards in the playoffs. After averaging 9.5 RPG during the regular season, he has yet to grab double-digit rebounds against either the Warriors or Thunder.

C DeAndre Jordan (11.5 PPG, 13.9 RPG, 3.5 BPG in playoffs) did not record a blocked shot for the first time in the postseason, but did grab four steals while adding just seven points and a playoff-low five rebounds in Monday's win. Jordan grabbed 18+ rebounds four times in the first round and swatted away 4+ shots in five games, but did have a contest where he went for 0 points and six rebounds, so expect him to come back from this subpar performance just fine.

SG Jamal Crawford (16.8 PPG in playoffs) continued to be an efficient scorer and netted 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting Monday night while playing just 19 minutes.

The Thunder have been able to put up an impressive 102.5 PPG (44% FG) this postseason despite playing a tough Memphis defense in the first round, but did not have the firepower Monday to compete with the hot shooting of Los Angeles.

SF Kevin Durant (29.3 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.5 BPG in playoffs) will accept his league MVP Award on Wednesday, but is coming off a poor game by his lofty standards. Durant had 25 points (9-of-19 FG) in Game 1, but missed three foul shots and pulled down only four rebounds en route to a game-worst rating of minus-26. He is still a threat to break out in a big way at any point after posting five 30-point performances against the Grizzlies in the first round.

PG Russell Westbrook (26.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 7.5 APG, 1.4 SPG in playoffs) had two triple-doubles in the first round and scored a team-high 29 points on Monday night, but added just four rebounds and four assists. He was efficient though, nailing 9-of-14 FG (2-for-5 threes) in the loss, while also going 9-for-10 from the charity stripe.

PF Serge Ibaka (12.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.5 BPG in playoffs) has had 12 points in each of his past two games while putting together an underwhelming performance on the boards in the same timeframe (5.0 RPG). He did get back to blocking shots though, turning away two in the first game after putting up a goose egg in that category in three contests during the first round.

PG Reggie Jackson (11.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG in playoffs) was just 1-for-8 with four points in 30 minutes on the floor Monday night after scoring 16 points in his previous two games. He has the ability to be a big factor off the bench for the Thunder in this series.

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NBA: Streaks, Tips, Notes

LA Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder

Spanked 122-105 in the opening game of the Western Conference semi-finals Oklahoma City suffered it's worst home playoff loss since relocating from Seattle. History tells us, teams off a SU loss in this round are 24-10-1 ATS so expect Kevin Durant and company to bounce back covering the 5 1/2-point spot. Besides, OKC takes the floor with solid winning situations. Thunder have a 14-4 SU stretch revenging a loss this season (10-7-1 ATS) including a sparkling 7-2 ATS record as home favorite. Oklahoma City has also covered the point spread in eight of their last thirteen with a days rest (8-4-1 ATS). Thunder have cashed 6-of-10 on home court laying 4.0 to 6.5 points (6-3-1 ATS). Final betting nugget in OKC's favor, Clippers come in 1-5 ATS last six following a win during second season.

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NBA Playoff Picks
By: David Purdum

The NBA betting strategy known as the zig-zag theory was a success in the first round of the playoffs. Teams that failed to cover the spread the previous game bounced back in their next game to cover the number 60.9 percent of the time (25-16-1 ATS).

Tonight the zig-zag theory points to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers, two favorites that were thoroughly dominated in Game 1 losses. Good luck, zig-zaggers.

The Washington Wizards pushed aside the Pacers on Monday, answering every Indiana challenge in a game nowhere as competitive as the 102-96 final score might indicate. The Wizards outrebounded the Pacers 53-36 and outscored them 19-5 on second-chance points. It was Washington’s first win in their last 13 trips to Indianapolis. And it was impressive. The Wizards have covered the spread in seven straight road games, including all three in the playoffs. They are 29-18-1 ATS as underdogs this season.

The Los Angeles Clippers were even more dominant the Wizards, hammering the Thunder 122-105. The game got out of hand quickly, behind a sizzling shooting performance from Clippers point guard Chris Paul. His second of eight 3-pointers gave the Clippers a 21-18 lead in the first quarter. They didn't trail again and led by 20 or more for much of the game. Paul and forward Blake Griffin outplayed OKC stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Thunder were sloppy with 17 turnovers and looked slow in an alarmingly poor performance.

Yet, both the Pacers and the Thunder remain two-possession favorites in tonight’s Game 2’s.

Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers (-4, 184.5)

At halftime of Game 1, Charles Barkley and the TNT analysts were saying this series was already over. It was that ugly for the Pacers, who dropped to 10-28-1 ATS since the All-Star Break.

That’s also about the last time anyone has seen center Roy Hibbert. The struggling big man continued his downward spiral toward irrelevancy Monday. He had 0 points and 0 rebounds with five fouls. The Pacers were minus-17 on the scoreboard during Hibbert’s 18 minutes.

The Game 2 line opened at Indiana -4.5, the same as Game 1. By Wednesday morning, most shops had dropped to -4.

Game 1 easily eclipsed the 183.5 total and was played at a faster pace than the three regular-season meetings, which averaged only 164.6 points. Five of Washington’s six playoff games, and seven of eight overall, have gone OVER the total.

The Linemakers’ lean: This is supposed to be the ideal bounce-back situation for bettors – when the home team loses Game 1 – but who wants to mess around with the Pacers with hard-earned money? They look absolutely dreadful on Monday, and their body language suggested they wished the nightmare had ended against Atlanta.

The Wizards shot only 41 percent in the first game – lower than their playoff average – but hit 62 percent from 3-point range. The Pacers were also significantly outrebounded, getting abused inside by Drew Gooden (yes, he’s still in the league) and Marcin Gortat, who combined for 27 boards.

There is no way to spin a case for the Pacers, especially when the spread is 2-points higher than it should be. The Wizards are flat-out just a better team right now. and they have won seven straight road games. Look for the Wizards to play another solid game on the road, where they are 30-15 ATS this season.

Take the points and expect Washington to push the pace again, making the OVER attractive as well.

L.A. Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder (-5.5, 214.5)

The Thunder opened as 5.5-point favorites for Game 2, just like they were on Monday. The Clippers are 12-6 ATS as underdogs this season.

L.A. has to cool off a little bit. The Clippers shot 54.9 percent from the floor and hit 15 of 29 3-pointers in Game 1. The only place they didn’t shoot well from was the foul line (17-for-30). If tonight’s game is closer, poor free-throw shooting could be a difference-maker.

Durant will be presented his MVP award before tonight’s game. It should create an even more raucous than normal atmosphere in OKC, where the Thunder are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 playoff games.

Durant pieced together 25 points off of 19 shots, but the Thunder were minus-26 with their superstar on the floor. Westbrook had 29 points, but turned it over six times.

Seven of the last 10 Clippers-Thunder meetings have gone OVER the total.

The Linemakers’ lean: When we saw the Grizzlies hold the Thunder to 43 percent shooting in the first round, we attributed it to good Memphis defense. We thought things would be better against the free-wheelin’ Clippers, and it was, kind of – OKC shot 45 percent in Game 1. But they got absolutely embarrassed by a score not even indicative of how badly they got beat. The Clips couldn’t miss, as the Thunder seemingly played 2-on-5 offense.

OKC is now 6-to-1 to win the NBA title, the highest they’ve been all season, while the Clippers are 9-to-2, the lowest they’ve been. We don’t expect the Clippers to shoot 60 percent through three quarters again, but with OKC’s confidence shaken and the Clippers’ lob city swagger clicking, it’s hard to make a case for the Thunder to bounce back.

Look for a fast pace again and for the game to go OVER (these teams are each 6-2 to the OVER in the playoffs, 12-4 O/U combined), and on a lesser unit play, take the Clippers +5.5.

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Wednesday's Playoff Tips
By Brian Edwards
Wizards at Pacers

As of early this morning, most books had Indianapolis (60-30 straight up, 42-47-1 against the spread) installed as a four-point favorite with a total of 185. Gamblers can back the Wizards on the money line for a +155 return (risk $100 to win $155). For first-half wagers, the Pacers are favored by 2.5 and the total is 92.

Washington (49-39 SU, 48-39-1 ATS) won Monday's series opener 102-96 in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated. The Wizards won outright as four-point underdogs, while the 198 combined points soared 'over' the 183.5-point total. Bradley Beal scored a game-high 25 points to go with seven rebounds, seven assists, five steals and one blocked shot. The second-year shooting guard out of the University of Florida had 14 of his points in the final stanza. Trevor Ariza added 22 points thanks to 6-for-6 shooting from 3-point land. Marcin Gortat had 12 points, 15 rebounds and three rejections, while Drew Gooden came off the bench to contribute 12 points and 13 boards. John Wall chipped in 13 points and nine assists compare to only one turnover.

In the Game 1 defeat, Frank Vogel's team fell behind by 13 points in the first quarter only to surge into a 31-30 lead early in the second quarter. However, the advantage was short-lived as Ariza's hot shooting put the Wizards back in front by 13 at intermission. Paul George, who finished with 18 points despite a 4-for-17 shooting night, converted a three-point play to get his team to within 82-76. But the Pacers wouldn't get any closer.

George Hill shared team-high scoring honors (18 points) with George, while David West scored 15 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Luis Scola and Lance Stephenson finished with 12 points apiece.

Washington dominated the glass in Game 1 with a 53-36 rebounding advantage. Indiana got absolutely nothing from All-Star center Roy Hibbert yet against. Hibbert, who averaged only 5.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in the seven-game series against Atlanta, had zero points, zero rebounds and five fouls in 18 minutes of playing time.

Winning road games in the postseason isn't easy, but the Wizards have been road warriors all season.'s Chris David said, "I put a lot of stock into road wins and with that said, how can you bet against Washington right now? The Wizards are a perfect 4-0 in the playoffs and outside of the Game 2 overtime win at Chicago, the other three results were never in doubt."

With seven consecutive road wins both SU and ATS, Washington now owns a 30-15 spread record when it leaves home.

Indiana was fortunate to escape Atlanta's upset bid in the first round, as it needed to rally from a five-point deficit at the three-minute mark of an elimination game at Philips Arena last Thursday. David had this to say about the club that no longer looks like a No. 1 seed: “Everybody has given up on the Pacers, including the oddsmakers. After losing Game 1, Indiana has been made a 7/5 underdog on the series price to Washington. I’m not jumping off the Pacers just yet only because they’ve been great off a loss, especially at home. While I’m still buying Indiana, I am selling Roy Hibbert and I’m certainly not alone on that statement. If I’m Frank Vogel, I have to sit him and start Ian Mahinmi in Game 2.”

The 'over' is 47-41 overall for the Wizards, cashing in seven of their last eight games.

The 'under' is 49-38-3 overall for the Pacers, going 5-2 in their last seven outings.

Before the 'over' hit in Game 1, the 'under' cashed in all three regular-season meetings between these Eastern Conference rivals.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on TNT.

Clippers at Thunder

As of early this morning, most shops had Oklahoma City (63-27 SU, 46-41-3 ATS) listed as a 5.5-point favorite with a total of 214.5. Bettors can back the Clippers to win outright for a +190 payout (risk $100 to win $190). Most spots have the Thunder as three-point 'chalk' for first-half bets. The total is 108.5.

Los Angeles (62-28 SU, 49-40-1 ATS) dealt out woodshed treatment in the series opener behind Chris Paul, who buried eight treys en route to a game-high 32 points. Paul, who made 12-of-14 attempts from the field and dished out 10 assists, led L.A. to a 122-105 victory as a 5.5-point underdog. The 227 combined points easily jumped 'over' the 213.5-point tally. Blake Griffin added 23 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 17 points.

David had this to say about the Clippers' performance: “The Association is a make or miss league and that was the case in the Clippers' Game 1 win. If you connect on 55 percent of your shots and hit 15 bombs from 3-point land, you better win the game, especially when Chris Paul starts making 8-of-9 from downtown. What’s really amazing is that L.A. almost shot better from the field than the free throw line (56.7%).”

On the eve of earning his first career MVP trophy, Kevin Durant had 25 points, four rebounds and four assists. Russell Westbrook scored a team-best 29 points, but he had more turnovers (six) than assists (four).

Like the Pacers, OKC is struggling at home. David explained, “I expect Oklahoma City to rebound in Game 2 but it does worry me a little bit that the Thunder are 2-3 at home in the playoffs. If you want to be considered a contender, you better hold serve at home. To put things in perspective, the Thunder went 8-1 at home during the 2012 playoffs when they ended up losing to the Heat in the Finals.”

The 'over' is 50-39-1 overall for the Clippers, 14-4 in their last 18 contests.

The 'over' is 48-42 overall for OKC, hitting in four straight games and six of its last seven.

The 'over' is 6-2 in the last eight head-to-head meetings between these Western Conference adversaries.

TNT will have the broadcast at 9:35 p.m. Eastern.

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Wizards/Pacers: The Game Inside the Game
By David Malinsky

The Wizards have sent some shock waves through the marketplace with their road performances through these playoffs, beating the spread by 40 points in a 4-0 run as a visitor over the Bulls and Pacers. It has extended their road win streak to seven straight, and 23-10 SU since the middle of December, including 19-6 ATS their last 25 as road underdogs. And the “secret” to their success may yet remain hidden, after that late barrage of Indiana 3-pointers on Monday.

Yes, the explosiveness of John Wall and the dead-eye of Bradley Beal make the highlight reels. But to fully understand the Washington development, it is about a chemistry coming together to do the things that do not make the highlights – like getting stops. At crunch time on the road, this defense has been terrific.

In winning all three games at Chicago, the Wizard defense was simply dominant when the game was on the line. Over the final 7:00 of regulation play in those games, and the one overtime period, they held the Bulls to 7-35 from the field, with eight turnovers. When you have more turnovers forced than made FG’s allowed over 26 minutes of floor time, you have done something special.

But note that it was not just crunch time, but also the opening salvos to the games – they also out-scored Chicago 78-57 in the first quarter of those road games. It is showing us that when the starting lineup is on the court the defense has been outstanding, although Randy Wittman lacks the depth in his rotation to maintain that through the middle portions of a game.

So how did this series open? Much the same way. The Wizards had six blocked shots in the first quarter, and ended the period ahead 28-15. And as for crunch time, the Pacers went without a FG from 7:41 to 0:40, going 0-6 with three TO’s, and it was a 94-84 lead before those four late Indy bombs beyond the arc that made the final 102-96.

With the Pacers scoring 12 points over the final 40 seconds, that Washington defense does not get entered into the databases as being nearly as good as it was. But note that there was nothing to fault – they led by at least eight points before each of those makes, and the priority was to not foul, instead of getting stops. The game was well in hand.

OK, the Wizards have not been playing offensive juggernauts in these playoffs, and the bench still brings issues (while Drew Gooden was effective in Game #1, Martell Webster was -11 over 15:58, Trevor Booker -9 over 8:58 and Andre Miller -13 over 8:17). But the defensive chemistry of the starting five, with Marcin Gortat and Nene patrolling the paint, and Trevor Ariza a solid counter to Paul George, has the Pacers hard-pressed to counter - the Indiana starters were only 20-58 in the opener, and had more turnovers (12) than assists (11).

Despite this, the “market adjustment” from Game #1 to Game #2 is showing money to Indiana and Over, an indication of how far the Washington defense remains off the radar screens.

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Wizards at Pacers: What Bettors Need to Know

Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers (-4.5, 184.5)

The Washington Wizards had no trouble going into Chicago and taking the first two games of their first-round series from the Bulls. The Wizards will try to turn the same trick when they visit the Indiana Pacers for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Wednesday. Washington dominated most of the night in Game 1 and ended up with a 102-96 victory as Trevor Ariza got hot early and Bradley Beal warmed up late.

The Pacers took the final two games of their first-round series from the Atlanta Hawks by changing up their rotation and making use of Chris Copeland while sitting Evan Turner and Luis Scola. Indiana decided to abandon that in Game 1 against the Wizards and did not insert Copeland into the game until the final minute when the outcome was already decided. Washington improved to 4-0 on the road in the playoffs with the victory and beat the Pacers at their own game by dominating the interior with a 53-36 rebounding advantage. “We know this is going to be a war and winning the boards is important to us,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman told reporters. “When we rebound, we can get out and run.”

ABOUT THE WIZARDS: Ariza went 6-of-6 from 3-point range in Game 1, hitting five of those in the first half as Washington built up a 13-point halftime lead. Beal scored 14 of his 25 in the fourth quarter and came through at the line in the final seconds after some shaky free-throw shooting earlier in the contest. “We try to play a fast-paced game,” Ariza told reporters. “(Point guard) John (Wall) is a speed demon and they have to stop him from getting to the basket, so our shooters follow him and stay ready to shoot.” Wall went 4-of-14 from the field but finished with 13 points, nine assists and one turnover in Game 1.

A big theme of the first round was the disappearance of All-Star Roy Hibbert, who needed a solid Game 7 just to get his averages up to 5.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in the seven-game set. Hibbert went back to being invisible in Game 1 on Monday, recording zero points and zero rebounds while committing five fouls in 18 minutes. Fellow All-Star Paul George struggled to 4-of-17 from the field and David West was 6-of-15 en route to 15 points and 12 rebounds. “We were really just out of rhythm,” George said. “Shots weren’t falling, shots were short. We just weren’t in sync to start this game off.”


* Under is 5-1 in the last six meetings in Indiana.
* Home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Wizards are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games playing on one days' rest.
* Pacers are 5-25 ATS in their last 30 games playing on one days' rest.


1. Wizards F Drew Gooden collected 12 points and 13 rebounds in Game 1 after totaling two points and three boards in the first round.

2. Indiana G George Hill has scored at least 14 points in five straight games.

3. Washington went 10-of-16 from 3-point range in Game 1.

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