Not Making it Easy

The Indiana Pacers continue to make things tough on themselves as they try to remain a serious contender in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Things won't get easier as the Pacers look to avoid a fourth straight loss and a season sweep to the Toronto Raptors when the teams meet Friday night at Air Canada Centre.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Toronto -10 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 208 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 73% of bets for this game have been placed on Toronto -10 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Indiana (22-36) fell 113-107 at home to Chicago on Wednesday for its 13th loss in 16 games. Despite the skid, the Pacers are still hanging around in the Eastern race - they are within four games of the eighth and final playoff spot - in part because only five of the conference's teams have winning records.

The Pacers, though, will need to improve their play if they want to make a push in the final stretch of the season. The challenge will only get tougher Friday as they try to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat overall, and fifth in a row to Toronto.

The Raptors (32-24), fourth in the East, have won three straight games, including a 102-98 victory at Indiana on Monday night. Toronto already has clinched its first season series win over the Pacers since 2000-01, and now seeks its fourth straight home victory over Indiana.

The Raptors have won their last four games at Air Canada Centre overall, and each of those victories was by at least 17 points.

"Games are getting more crucial down the stretch and we have to do a better job at home," said Toronto's Chris Bosh, who had 28 points in the Raptors' 107-85 home win over Minnesota on Wednesday.

Bosh had 24 points and 10 rebounds against Indiana on Monday, and he is averaging 22.7 points and 10.0 boards in three games versus the Pacers this season.

In Monday's meeting, Toronto used a 13-2 run in the final period to beat the Pacers. Two nights later, Indiana blew an 11-point second-half lead and shot 6-for-19 in the fourth quarter against Chicago.

"It seems like I say this quite a bit because it happens quite a bit," coach Jim O'Brien told the Pacers' official Web site. "We're not getting the job done in the fourth quarter and it's cost us a number of winnable basketball games."

Mike Dunleavy had 25 points and Travis Diener added 22 for the Pacers, who shot 41.0 percent in playing their 18th straight game without star Jermaine O'Neal (knee) and ninth in a row minus point guard Jamaal Tinsley (knee).

"We just have to find a way to make plays," said Diener, who is taking Tinsley's spot in the starting lineup. "One night it's this; one night it's that."

Dunleavy and Diener combined for 24 points in Monday's loss to Toronto as the Pacers shot 42.5 percent and were outrebounded 46-39.

The Pacers bench will be thinner than usual Friday. Reserve forward Shawne Williams will miss at least this game after a man who had just left his home was arrested on a murder charge Wednesday night. Team CEO Donnie Walsh said Williams was not suspended but needed time to sort out what happened.

As for the Raptors, they appear firmly entrenched in the playoff race, but remain focused on finishing strong. They have won 15 of their last 22 games, with the last nine victories by an average margin of 23.2 points.

"We are just coming out and playing basketball," Toronto's Jamario Moon said. "We are really not paying to much attention to the standings right now, we just want to come out and get the job done."

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

More NBA Basketball Coverage from theSpread.com

 - NBA Basketball teams
 - NBA Basketball standings
 - NBA Basketball schedule
 - NBA Basketball scoreboard
 - NBA Basketball injuries
 - NBA Basketball matchups
 - NBA Basketball stats
 - NBA Basketball odds
 - NBA Basketball public betting chart
 - NBA Basketball news wire
 - NBA Basketball top stories
 - NBA Basketball trends
 - AccuScore NBA Basketball predictions
 - Expert NBA Basketball picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NBA Basketball Home

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Updated NBA Finals Odds After a busy week with the NBA Draft taking place, which team improved their odds to win the 2018 NBA Finals?
Thumbnail Will Fox be a top-5 pick? With the 2017 NBA Drafttakes place later tonight. Where can we expect one of the top prospects, De’Aaron Fox, to land tonight?
Thumbnail Fultz to go to the 76ers? The Boston Celticshave traded out of the No. 1 pick. The Philadelphia 76ersnow hold the top pick once again. Is it a slam dunk who they will take in the NBA...
Thumbnail 2018 NBA Finals Odds After dominating the 2017 NBA Playoffs, will anyone keep the Golden State Warriors from winning the NBA Finals again...
Thumbnail Stephen Curry Game 5 Props Will Stephen Curry bounce back from a poor showing in Game 4 when the Golden State Warriors host the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals tonight at 9PM...

NBA Headlines

  • CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls set a clear direction by trading All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night last week.
    As for whether they got enough in return? Vice pr...
  • CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls are not ready to say whether veteran point guard Rajon Rondo will be back for a second season.
    Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson says that ''i...
  • NEW YORK (AP) Russell Westbrook has earned kudos from Michael Jordan and Taylor Swift after being honored with his first league MVP trophy at the NBA Awards show.
    A letter signed by Jordan an...
  • LOS ANGELES (AP) LaVar Ball has brought his Big Baller Brand from the basketball court to the wrestling ring.
    The outspoken father of NBA draft No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball showed up with the newly ...
  • NEW YORK (AP) The Latest on the NBA awards show (all times local):
    10:55 p.m.
    Draymond Green is the Defensive Player of the Year, ending Kawhi Leonard's two-year reign.
    Green was re...

NBA Team Pages