NBA on ESPN Odds: Indiana Pacers at Oklahoma City Thunder

kevin durant-thunder-2015-2Indiana Pacers at Oklahoma City Thunder
Time: 8:05 PM EST (ESPN)
Spread: OKC -8
Total: 215

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

The Indiana Pacers stood pat at the NBA trade deadline, and perhaps maybe it should not have. The Pacers are seeded No. 6 in the East to-date, and at 28-25 it will travel to face the Oklahoma City Thunder as 8-point underdogs in a game to be aired at 8 Eastern on ESPN.

The Pacers lost 117-95 before the All-Star break, falling at home to the Charlotte Hornets, a potential playoff rival. Paul George shot 8 of 18 from the floor to finish with 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists. But the Pacers shot just 43.5 percent from the floor while allowing the Charlotte Hornets to knock down 51.7 percent.

Kemba Walker lit up the Pacers for 25 points on 10 of 21 shooting, but he has been giving most teams the business this year.

George is coming off a 41 point performance in the All-Star game that saw him go 16 of 26 from the field, but there is little sense in attributing meaning to the exhibition. More over note, George has averaged 29 points and 7.8 rebounds over his past five games while shooting 50 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from three-point range.

But perhaps the biggest surprise has been the play rookie Myles Turner. Turner has scored in double-figures in the Pacers’ last four games, and he had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the 89-87 victory over the L.A. Lakers on Feb. 8. Over the last 10 games, he has averaged 13 points, 7.3 rebounds and two blocks per game. When asked prior to the season whether he was a power forward or a center, he simply said “I’m a basketball player.”

That adage has proven true as he has fit seamlessly beside 5-man Ian Mahinmi. Turner has given the Pacers an added shooter and floor spacer and looks to be a part of the league for a long time to come. Teams were bullish on his NBA prospects which allowed him to fall to the No. 11 pick for the Pacers to snag him.

The Thunder are 25-5 at home this season where it will host the Pacers at Chesapeake Energy Arena. OKC has won its past two with wins over the New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns, disposing of both teams in easy and convincing fashion.

The most recent was the 121-95 drubbing of the hapless Pelicans. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook scored 23 points a piece while combining to shot 18 of 31 from the field. The team shot 52.3 percent while holding the Pelicans to 43.2 percent shooting.

It remains to be seen what happens to this OKC team when free agency arrives this summer, though. Analysts have already been spinning their collective wheels in the dirt trying to guess where Kevin Durant might sign.

It stands to reason that the Thunder need a deep run in the postseason to ensure it can keep Durant around. He is now at the juncture of his career where scoring and winning games no longer suffices. Durant needs a ring, and if it does not look as though it can be won in Oklahoma City, it might be time for him to take his talents to a different team.



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