|NBA: Phoenix Suns at Indiana Pacers Preview, Picks, Odds|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Monday, 03 December 2007 19:15|
Suns After Thrid Straight
Joining three All-Stars in Phoenix, Grant Hill was expected to give the Suns a veteran presence and provide some scoring to support the team's dominant trio of Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion.
It turns out, however, that the 35-year-old Hill can still flash his once-dominant form as well.
Hill and the Suns (13-4) look for their third straight win as they play the second game of a five-game road trip Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Phoenix –6.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 219.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 91% of bets for this game have been placed on Phoenix -6 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Hill, a seven-time All-Star, provided the offensive spark in Phoenix's latest win, 115-104 over New York on Sunday. The Suns were clinging to a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Hill scored nine of his season-high 28 points in a two-minute stretch to start the final period, helping Phoenix open up a 16-point lead before winning by 11.
"Sometimes you need new scenery,'' said Hill, who spent six injury-plagued seasons in Orlando before signing with the Suns in July. "Coming here is a great environment, great coaching staff, great guys, and just the chance to break away from all the ankle talk and stuff from the past, that's all behind me and I feel good. Now it's about trying to go out and help this team win.''
Hill also had eight rebounds and seven assists while making 13 of 17 shots.
"It was a lot of fun to see him go off," said two-time MVP Nash, who's averaging 18.9 points and a league-best 11.1 assists, but shot just 3-for-10 and finished with nine points Sunday. "It was a lot of pressure off me. I didn't have my legs and he kind of took over. Obviously (he is) a great teammate."
Hill is only fifth on the Suns with 15.6 points per game, a testament to the team's offensive balance - leading scorer Stoudemire averages 19.3 points - and Phoenix is once again one of the NBA's top scoring clubs at 108.4 points a game.
The Suns have dominated the Pacers lately, winning the last four meetings by an average of 16.0 points. Nash has been the main reason, averaging 23.5 points and 10.0 assists in those games.
Indiana (9-9) is back home after a successful four-game trip against Western Conference teams, during which it won three of four. Additionally, the Pacers got All-Star center Jermaine O'Neal back midway through the trip after a knee injury had sidelined him for five games.
O'Neal, who has led Indiana in scoring the past six seasons, responded well, notching two double-doubles. He had 20 points and 15 rebounds in just 28 minutes of the Pacers' 101-95 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
He played despite suffering a right shoulder injury in his first game back, a 95-93 loss to Seattle on Friday.
"The Seattle game was actually the first time I didn't have pain in my knee in almost a year and a half, and (against the Clippers) I didn't have any pain in my knee at all," O'Neal said.
"My shoulder was about 85 percent,'' he added. "We iced it a lot (Saturday), I took some Advil, iced it again (Sunday) morning and was ready to go.''
Point guard Jamaal Tinsley has stepped up with O'Neal hurting. He scored a season-high 29 points against the Clippers and added seven assists and seven rebounds. Tinsley's had at least 10 assists in seven of his past nine games.
"I'm always confident when the ball is in my hands. I don't care if I miss eight or nine shots, I feel like the next one is going to go in,'' he said.
Tinsley has struggled during the Suns' four-game winning streak against Indiana, shooting 10-for-31 and averaging just 8.3 points and 4.7 assists in the three games he'd played.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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