Betting odds courtesy of 5dimes
The Indiana Pacers sit atop the Eastern Conference standing with a 3.5 game lead on the Miami Heat. Indiana (35-9) is 21-1 at home this season where it will host the improved Phoenix Suns in game NBA oddsmakers are favoring the Pacers by 12 points.
The Suns have won three straight over poor opponents (Cleveland, Philadelphia and Milwaukee) but will face a much tougher test in the Pacers tonight. Indiana boasts the league’s best defense, allowing just 90.2 points per game. The Pacers comparatively are averaging 98.7 points per game, good for a +8.5 point differential.
The Pacers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 104-92 on Tuesday (Jan 28) behind 19 points from David West and a 15 point, 14 rebound and six assist game from shooting guard Lance Stephenson.
Stephenson will be a free agent this summer and is bound to draw a lot of attention around the league. The former D-Leaguer is averaging 14.2 points, 5.3 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game and has evolved into one of the better 2-guards in the league. Pairing Stephenson with an emerging Paul George gives Indiana a real shot to take down the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.
Phoenix has run a high octane offense all season and the Suns rank 6th in the NBA in scoring (105 points per game), but the team ranks in the bottom-third of defensive efficiency and allows 101.6 points per game.
The Suns backcourt of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe has been largely responsible for the team’s surprising season. Bledsoe is out indefinitely with cartilage damage in his right knee and Dragic is questionable with an ailing left elbow injury. If Phoenix is without both of its playmakers, this one won’t be close.
Most projected the Suns to be one of the league’s worst teams, but past the midway point with the team still nine games above .500, it appears the Suns could be for real. Are they good enough to beat OKC or San Antonio? Likely not, especially in the playoffs where “D” comes at a premium. But at the minimum this Suns team isn’t as far away from contention as most thought heading into this season.
PHX Trends: 4-0 ATS in last 4 road games; UNDER 6-0 in last 6 vs teams with winning home records; UNDER 8-0 in last 8 vs teams with home winning percentage over .600.
IND Trends: OVER 4-0-1 in last 5 following ATS win; OVER 5-0-1 in last 6 following SU win; OVER 5-0-1 in last 6 after scoring 100 or more in previous game.
Head-to-head: Suns 6-0 ATS in last 6 meetings; OVER 5-1 in last 6 meetings in Indiana; OVER 4-1 in last 5 meetings.