Pacers at Knicks Picks and NBA Game 5 Odds
by Alan Matthews - 5/16/2013
If I am the Indiana Pacers, I believe my best chance to beat the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals actually will be determined in Thursday night's Game 5 of the conference semifinals at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks. Here's why: The Miami Heat will have finished off the Chicago Bulls in five games in their semifinal series on Wednesday night whether or not Dwyane Wade played in the game. Wade clearly has a pretty serious knee problem, but it's not going to keep him out of the next round. Thus, the Pacers actually will WANT as quick a turnaround as possible to face the Heat to allow Wade as little rest as possible. Again, presuming Miami won Wednesday, should the Pacers win Thursday they would visit the Heat for Game 1 on Monday. Should the Pacers lose and have to head back to Indianapolis for Game 6, the Pacers wouldn't see the Heat until next Wednesday. And, obviously, don't get me started on a possible Game 7.
The problem is it's hard to know which Pacers team shows up Thursday. The one that scored just 69 points in a 21-point loss in Atlanta in Game 3 of that series? The one that lost again in double-digits in Game 4 at the Hawks? The one that allowed the Knicks a 30-2 run in Game 2 of this series at the Garden in another blowout road loss? Or the one that looked very good in Game 1 at New York in a 102-95 win?
Pacers at Knicks Betting Story Lines
Indiana showed why it’s arguably the NBA's top defensive team in the two games in Indianapolis, holding New York to a combined 153 points in double-digit wins. Paul George was spectacular in Tuesday's 93-82 victory with 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, while George Hill added 26 points. A major key in this series has been Indiana's rebounding dominance. It led the NBA in rebounding this season and is crushing the Knicks on the boards in this series. It was a 54-36 advantage in Game 4.
George isn't just doing it on the offensive end (his shooting is a bit off), and he seems to be in Carmelo Anthony's head. Melo was just 9-for-23 from the field in Game 4 and fouled out. He's shooting 40.9 percent from the field overall in this series but just 31.6 percent when guarded by George. Against other guys: 55.6 percent. Anthony isn't getting any help, either. Kenyon Martin, Iman Shumpert and Jason Kidd were a combined 0-for-11 from the field in Game 4. Shumpert is playing on a bum knee as well.
J.R. Smith flat-out stinks right now and was 7-for-22 in Game 4 and is shooting a ridiculous 28.1 percent in the series. Since he was suspended for Game 4 of the Celtics series, Smith is 29-for-91 (28.5 percent) from the field and 10-for-37 from long range. Prior to the suspension, he was averaging 16 points and shooting 43 percent in three playoff games, and New York won them all. Amare Stoudemire hasn't been a factor in the 20 combined minutes he has played the past two games after returning from knee surgery. New York is settling for jump shots while the Pacers are getting inside -- notice Indiana's 30 free-throw attempts to the Knicks' 14 in Game 4.
It will be interesting to see Knicks coach Mike Woodson's starting lineup in this one. He started Martin over guard Pablo Prigioni (played just three minutes) in Game 4 to try and help with the rebounding, but obviously that didn't do the trick. Indiana had 16 offensive rebounds and 19 second-chance points and outscored the Knicks 36-26 in the paint. I don't know why Woodson is even playing Kidd, especially over Prigioni. Kidd has scored as many points as I have in the past eight Knicks games. He's a liability at this point because the Pacers don't need to bother guarding him on the perimeter.
Pacers at Knicks NBA Game 5 Betting Odds and Key Trends
Indiana was 20-20 ATS on the road this season and 18-22 “over/under”. It is 2-3 ATS and 2-2-1 O/U on road in playoffs. New York was 25-16 ATS at home this season and 20-21 O/U. It is 2-3 ATS and 1-3-1 O/U in postseason.
The Pacers are 3-7 ATS in their past 10 Thursday games. The Knicks are 8-2 ATS in their past 10 Thursday games. The Knicks are 7-2 ATS in their past nine following an ATS loss. New York is 9-3 ATS in its past 12 playing on one day of rest. The under is 9-2 in Indiana's past 11 Thursday games. The over has hit in 11 of the past 15 Pacers games playing on one day of rest. The under is 8-0-1 in the Knicks past nine after an ATS loss. The favorite has covered five of the past six meetings.
Pacers at Knicks Picks and Game 5 Betting Predictions
Anthony might be the best pure scorer in this series, but George is the best all-around player. And the Pacers' balance is night-and-day better than New York's. I mean, look at a guy like Lance Stephenson. An afterthought most nights during the season and easily the weakest link of the Indiana starting five, he's averaging 10.3 points and 7.8 rebounds in this series.
If the Knicks don't have Smith and Raymond Felton contributing along with Anthony at a minimum, they just don't have a prayer. Still, I could see Melo putting up 40 in his home gym in a must-win to send this to a Game 6. Indiana has a history of laying an egg on the road as well. So give the points here and take the under. But the Knicks are 0-13 all-time when falling behind in a series 3-1, so this will end in Game 6.
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