The Indiana Pacers defeated the Charlotte Hornets in the Nine-Ten Game on Tuesday, and now meet the Washington Wizards for a chance to secure the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers played three times this season, with the Wizards winning all three games in high-octane shootouts. The Pacers and Wizards will clash for the fourth time in a crucial game of the play-in tournament where the loser bubbles the playoffs and the winner snags the final seed in the East.
The Wizards entered the play-in tournament as the hottest team in the NBA, but were upended by the Boston Celtics in the Seven-Eight Game when Jayson Tatum dropped 50 points on them in a 118-100 drubbing. The Celtics locked up the #7 seed in the East, but the Wizards still have a shot at grabbing the #8 seed if they can get past the Pacers.
|Play-in Tournament: Eastern Conference #8 Seed|
|Indiana Pacers (34-38) at Washington Wizards (34-38)|
- Tip-off: 5:00 pm ET
- Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
- Point Spread: WASH -3
- Total: 237 o/u
- Moneyline: IND +135 / WASH -150
The winner of the Pacers/Wizards will take on the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers starting on Sunday.
The Wizards host this play-in game at the Capital One Arena in DC, where they went 19-17 during the regular season. The Pacers are, unusually, better on the road than at home this season with a 21-15 away record.
Betting the Pacers/Wizards
The Wizards finished the season as the fourth-best betting team in the league with a 41-31-1 ATS record. The Pacers went 33-39-1 in covering the spread this season. If you’re a totals bettor, the Pacers are the top team in the NBA with a 45-27-1 record hitting the over. The Wizards were 36-37 in betting the over.
Expect a shootout in this play-in game, considering the Wizards have the worst defense in the NBA, allowing 120.2 ppg. The Pacers had the eighth-worst defense, allowing 113.2 ppg this season. Bookies set the total for over 240 points, which seems excessive for two teams jockeying for the final playoff spot in the East.
The Pacers and Wizards faced each other three times this season, and all three games were wild shootouts. The Wizards went 3-0 against the Pacers, including a one-point overtime thriller two weeks ago. Now, it comes down to one final game to determine the last playoff seed in the East.
The Wizards averaged 139.6 ppg in all three victories against the Pacers this season. The Pacers averaged 132.3 in all three losses. In their craziest game, the two teams combined for 295 points in a 154-141 victory by the Wizards in which Russell Westbrook set a historic 20-20 triple-double.
The Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers are both +25000 odds to win the 2021 NBA championship, according to the most recent update by DraftKings.
Washington Wizards: No defense, all offense
The Wizards would like to burn the game tape from the Seven-Eight Game matchup against the Boston Celtics. Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal combined for 44 points, but they were awful from long range, shooting 1-for-10 combined from 3-point land.
“We couldn’t find it,” said head coach Scott Brooks. “Couldn’t find the basket. We haven’t shot well all year long, but we’re not a 3-for-21 shooting team.”
The Wizards shot 16-for-43 overall, including a horrendous 14.3% from 3-point range with 18 missed treys.
The Wizards couldn’t slow down Tatum (50 points) or Kemba Walker (29 points). The Wiz are lucky that the Pacers’ best scorers are dinged up and hampered by injuries. Otherwise, they’ll be in for another nightmare scenario.
The Wizards know the Pacers well and beat them three times since late March. In their last meeting, Beal torched the Pacers for 50 points in overtime, but he left the game in the fourth quarter with tightness in his hamstring.
Indiana Pacers: Cranking out the jams
The Pacers generated 144 points of offense in the Nine-Ten Game in a 144-117 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. The Pacers shot 45.7% from 3-point range and were up by 30 points for a significant portion of this game before the Hornets made the final score look respectable in garbage time.
Oshae Brissett led all scorers with 23 points. All five Indiana starters scored double digits, and eight members of the Pacers scored at least 12 points.
“Everybody got going,” said point guard Malcolm Brogdon. “It’s the best when all your teammates get to score and have fun. We had fun tonight and that was the best part.”
The Pacers’ top two scorers were nursing injuries coming into the play-in tournament. Brogdon hadn’t played a game in May due to a hamstring injury, but scored 16 points and dished eight assists in 21 minutes. Domantas Sabonis logged 33 minutes despite a quad injury and missed a triple-double with 14 points, 21 rebounds, and nine assists.
“Sabonis is a point forward and sometimes when you’re a point guard, you have to score more, and sometimes you have to assist more and make the right plays,” said head coach Nate Bjorkgren. “That’s what he was doing tonight. Passing, hitting cutters, making the right play.”
Credit the Pacers defense for limiting LaMelo Ball’s impact. They held Ball to 4-for-14 from the floor and only 14 points and four assists. The Pacers also shut down Terry Rozier from downtown; he shot 0-for-9 from 3-point range.