NBA Picks: Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks, Game #6

2013 NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game #6
#3 Indiana Pacers at #6 Atlanta Hawks
Pacers Lead Best of Seven Series 3-2
Friday, May 3, 2013, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Philips Arena – Atlanta, Georgia
Opening Line: Atlanta -2
Current Line: Atlanta -2
Opening Total: 188
Current Total: 187 1/2
Opening Money Line: Hawks -130 / Pacers +110
Current Money Line: Hawks -130 / Pacers +110

The Hawks need to win Friday to force a game 7 against the Pacers.

The Hawks need to win Friday to force a game 7 against the Pacers.

For only the second time in  NBA history, four game sixes will be played on the same night Friday. In 2003, in all four games on May 1, the team that was up 3-2 ended the series. The Pacers, Knicks, Thunder, and Grizzlies hope the result is the same this year. Of course, the only think better than 4 game sixes on one night would be a quadruple header of do or die game sevens on Sunday.

The #3 seed Indiana Pacers travel to the #6 Atlanta Hawks Friday night. The home team has won every game in this series by double digits, including a 106-83 Pacers’ romp in Indianapolis Wednesday night. Indiana has lost 13 straight games in Atlanta dating back to 2006.

Indiana is coached by Frank Vogel. The Pacers are 45-41 ATS and the total is 42-43-1 this season. The Pacers are outscoring teams 95-91 this season. Indiana is second in the league in points allowed and #23 in scoring. The Pacers are shooting 43.6% from the field and 34.7% from 3 point range. Indiana is 22nd or worse in both categories. The Pacers make 74.6% of their free throws. Indiana leads the league in rebounding at 45.8 per game, and are #8 in rebounds allowed at 40.9. Indiana opponents are shooting 42% from the field and 32.7% from 3 point range. The Pacers lead the league in both categories. Indiana averages 20.3 assists, 7.2 steals, 6.3 blocks, and 14.5 turnovers.

Small forward Paul George averages 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Power forward David West averages 17.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block a game. West is probable with an ankle injury. Point guard George Hill averages 14.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. Center Roy Hibbert averages 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. Shooting guard Lance Stephenson averages 8.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1 steal a game. Tyler Hansbrough, Gerald Green, Ian Mahinmi, and D.J. Augustin make up the rest of the rotation. Indiana has had success despite All-Star forward Danny Granger missing all but 5 games with a knee injury.

Atlanta is coached by Larry Drew. The Hawks are 39-46-2 ATS and the total is 46-40-1. Atlanta is outscoring teams 98-97.5 this season. The Hawks are shooting 46.4% from the field and 37.1% from 3 point range. Atlanta is #7 in both categories. The Hawks are #26 in free throw shooting at 71.5% from the line. Atlanta averages 40.9 rebounds per game and gives up 43.7 per game. The Hawks are 23rd or worse in both categories. Atlanta opponents are shooting 45% from the field and 37.9% from 3 point range. The Hawks are #28 in 3 point defense. Atlanta averages 24.5 assists, 8.1 steals, 4.5 blocks, and 14.3 turnovers per game.

Small forward Josh Smith averages 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.8 blocks per game. He is probable with an ankle injury. Center Al Horford averages 17.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. He is also probable with a shoulder injury.  Point guard Jeff Teague averages 14.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Guard Louis Williams is out for the season with a knee injury after averaging 14 points in 39 games.  Guard Kyle Korver averages 10.9 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Point guard Devin Harris averages 9.9 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game. Ivan Johnson, John Jenkins, DeShawn Stevenson, and  Anthony Tolliver all get significant minutes as well. Center Zaza Pachulia is out for the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon.

Indiana is 5-11 ATS against teams with winning records, 3-7 after a straight up win of 10 points or more, 3-8 overall, 3-9 against Eastern Conference teams, 0-4 in road games, and against teams with winning home records. The over is 7-1 in the last 8  in this series.

Atlanta is 13-6 ATS after a straight up loss of 10 points or more, 2-5 against Central Division teams, 2-6 overall, 2-7 at home and against teams with losing road records, 3-11 against Eastern Conference teams, 1-4 after allowing 100 points or more, 2-8 after failing to cover, 1-6 on one day rest, and 0-4 in Friday games. The favorite is 21-5 ATS and the home team is 22-7 ATS recently in this series. The Hawks are 18-7-1 ATS at home recently against the Pacers.

Indiana is great at home and not so great on the road. I would like to pick the Pacers to close out the series but I can’t. At the beginning of the playoffs many picked the Pacers as a dark horse candidate to beat the Miami Heat and maybe  even win the NBA title. Well, that won’t happen if the Pacers can’t win on the road. Atlanta wins to force a game seven Sunday in Indianapolis.

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