Indiana (29-23) at Washington (31-21)
When: Friday, February 10th 2017
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: ESPN
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Two teams that are climbing up the standings in the Eastern Conference will meet Friday night in the Nation’s Capital as the Indiana Pacers visit the Washington Wizards in a key matchup. The Wizards had a 17-game home winning streak come to an end on Monday but bounced back with an overtime win at Brooklyn on Wednesday. Washington fought hard into overtime in one of the more exciting games of the NBA season but was denied an 18th consecutive home win in a 140-135 loss to the Cavaliers, but managed to hang around two nights later before putting away the Nets 114-110. One of Washington’s 17 straight home wins came over Indiana, a 111-105 victory on December 28th that pulled the team within a game of .500 at 15-16. The Wizards are now third in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland and Boston and are finally getting solid efforts nightly from a healthy Bradley Beal, who followed up a 41-point effort on Monday with 31 points in 41 minutes at Brooklyn. Beal did not play more than 73 games in any of his first four seasons and was limited to 55 last season. This year, he’s only missed four games and is logging heavy minutes (39.3 in the first four games this month) along with backcourt mate John Wall (42.3 minutes in February).
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Indiana was also on a roll before the same Cleveland team ended their seven game winning streak on Wednesday. The Pacers led Cleveland at halftime on Wednesday but completely fell apart in the second half and ended up falling 132-117. Indiana allowed an average of 96.3 points during its seven-game winning streak and held four straight opponents under 100 points before running into Cleveland on Wednesday. The Pacers were outscored 40-18 in the decisive third quarter and allowed Cavaliers guard Kyle Korver to go 8-of-9 from 3-point range in the loss. The Pacers defense ranks 19th in points allowed (105.8), but are sixth in both field goal percentage defense (44.8) and 3-point defense (34.7). Point guard Jeff Teague is 8-of-16 from 3-point range in five games this month and dished out 14 assists in Wednesday’s loss. Indiana, which beat the Wizards at home 107-105 on December 19th, won twice in Washington last season. Indiana’s schedule doesn’t get any easier after Friday as they play Washington twice, San Antonio, Cleveland, and Memphis over the next two weeks.
Indiana is a little more rested with Washington play two overtime games in a row. The Pacers won at Washington twice last year and have won their last three road games overall. I’ll take the points.
Pick: Pacers +5