The Brooklyn Nets are in the midst of playing 10 away games in 13 encounters and this is their last home game until Feb. 23rd. The Nets will look to make the most of it against Indiana.
Kyrie Irving returned from a one-game absence due to a sprained right finger. Irving and Brooklyn stumbled against the Pistons in the Motor City 122-111 as seven-point favorites. That was the Nets’ third straight loss.
Indiana has lost three in a row and is 1-5 SU and ATS since January 29. For the Pacers to get back in the win column, they will need to play more defense (more on that in a bit). Something we are not accustomed to seeing from this franchise.
The NBA odds at SBOBET and other online betting sites have Brooklyn as a 3.5-point home favorite. Let’s sort out how this game sets up and later choose a spread winner.
Indiana Pacers vs. Brooklyn Nets
Wednesday, February 10, 2021 – 8:05 PM ET at Barclays Center
Pacers Need to Keep Pace on Defense
It was just a few weeks ago, Indiana was at the top of the Central Division, now they are a .500 club at 12-12 (11-13 ATS). What has happened that Pacers would fall so quickly?
Indiana traded away Victor Oladipo and during this losing spell, the defense has gone the way like Aubrey O’Day, it just disappeared. The Pacers have allowed 115 points a game in their last six skirmishes, which is roughly five more than when Oladipo was still residing in the Hoosier State.
Since Frank Vogel was fired in 2016, the defensive identity of the franchise has been lost. No question the NBA has changed significantly to a more offensive three-point shooting league. Nevertheless, when Vogel was released, Indiana gave up 99.3 PPG that season overall. That number has risen each year since and they reside at 111.9 PPG, which 17th in the league.
Not being able to use Caris LeVert in the Oladipo trade has not helped Indiana, but he’s more of an offensive threat than a defender.
The trickle-down effect of this is Indiana is giving up more second-chance points on rebounding. Oladipo had brought a hustling attitude and was a good rebounder at guard. That appears lost currently. If the Pacers don’t play defense against the NBA’s top offense in Brooklyn, another defeat seems inevitable.
Who Are the Brooklyn Nets?
Brooklyn (14-12, 10-16 ATS) is trying to be the Kansas City Chiefs, just with even less defense. Mixing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving was thought to make the Nets a far more interesting team. Later adding James Harden, the idea from the front office appears to be the most simplistic way to win games and beat betting websites with regularity, outscore the opposing team.
In that regard, coach Steve Nash club is accomplishing part of that mission, averaging 221.1 PPG. However, those 12 setbacks have more to do with the lack of defense, which is conceding 118.4 PPG, leaving them just ahead of basement-dwelling Washington in this category.
Having that kind of scoring differential is not how championships are won and the Nets franchise has made their decision about how they will pursue a title this season with Durant, Irving, and Harden.
In order to chase such a possibility, Nash needs all three players on the floor together. It’s only the first part of February, but Irving’s “vacation” and Durant’s virus problems have not helped continuity for Nash’s squad. Yet, at some point, Brooklyn has to start winning more.
The Nets start the night as the 3rd seed in the East but it’s safe to assume Boston and Toronto will improve and if they surpass Brooklyn, only twice in the last 50 years has a team not seeded in the Top 3 of their conference gone on to win an NBA championship.
The Point Spread Winner
Since Harden has joined the Nets, 11 different opposing players have scored 30 or more points. Not all have been his man and in all, 16 different players have tallied at least 30 points versus Brooklyn, both the most in the Association.
With Durant still expected to be out, we’ll grab the points with Indiana for NBA picks, and here is why.
The Nets come into this clash 8-22 ATS without rest and are missing their best player in Durant. Indiana knows they can win against Brooklyn and is 10-3 ATS against them and 16-5 ATS in Brooklyn.
In this battle of bumbling teams, taking the points.
NBA Picks: Pacers +3.5 at SBOBET