|NBA: Indiana Pacers at Seattle Sonics Preview, Picks, Odds|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Friday, 30 November 2007 03:36|
Searching For a Home Win
The Sonics try again for their first home victory on Friday when the Pacers visit KeyArena in search of their fifth win in six games.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Indiana -2 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 214 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 81% of bets for this game have been placed on Indiana -2 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
With seven straight losses in Seattle, the Sonics (2-14) are the league's last remaining winless team at home. Dating to last season, they've lost 11 straight at KeyArena.
The home losing streak is an especially contentious issue as the Sonics could be playing their last season in Seattle. Clay Bennett, who bought the franchise last year, has formally applied for permission to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City.
Seattle's latest bid for a home win came up short on Wednesday, when the Sonics gave up 39 points and 16 rebounds to Dwight Howard in a 110-94 loss to Orlando. It was their sixth straight loss overall after winning back-to-back road games to snap a season-opening eight-game skid.
"You've got to get over the hump and get it done. You've got to get wins on your home court," Seattle forward Wally Szczerbiak said. "This is another learning experience for us, but we have to figure out how to turn these close games around."
Szczerbiak had 20 points in Wednesday's loss and rookie Kevin Durant added a team-high 22, but the duo combined to shoot just 12-for-41 from the field.
"We're really just trying to get better and better. We came out tonight and executed, we just couldn't hit shots down the stretch and they knocked down some big-time shots," said Durant, who has topped 20 points in three consecutive games.
"I think we're getting better. Each and every game we're right there, we just need to finish them out."
Seven of the Sonics' eight losses in Seattle have come against teams that made the playoffs last season.
The Pacers (8-8) missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons in 2006-07, but they've looked good lately, winning four of their last five games while averaging 105.8 points.
First-year coach Jim O'Brien is partly responsible for Indiana's offensive surge. He has implemented a fast-paced offense that has suited the young Pacers team well.
After a slow start on Wednesday, Indiana hit its stride in the third quarter, outscoring Portland 25-13 in the period en route to a 95-89 victory.
"We're a very persistent running team," O'Brien said. "We're at our best when we're running and we did that in the third quarter."
Jamaal Tinsley's ability to run O'Brien's offense has outweighed his poor shooting. The seventh-year point guard went 4-for-16 from the field on Wednesday and is shooting a career-low 38 percent, but he had 15 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and five steals in the win over Portland.
"I missed some shots, but I can't keep my head down. I've got to continue to play," Tinsley said. "The coaching staff believes in me and they give me confidence. I'm just showing guys that they can depend on me."
The Pacers are playing well even without Jermaine O'Neal, the team's leading scorer in five of the last six seasons. He has been sidelined for five games by a sore left knee, but could return for Friday's contest.
Indiana has lost five of its last six games against the Sonics, including three straight in Seattle.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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