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The Indiana Pacers (7-5) and Atlanta Hawks (6-6) are both looking to get back to winning ways as they prepare for an NBA In-Season Tournament matchup on Tuesday night.
The Pacers’ league-best offense was stifled by the Orlando Magic in a 128-116 loss on Sunday, while the Hawks fell to the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in successive outings. This will be the first time the two meet this year after the Hawks claimed two of three matchups last season.
Here, we will react to the betting odds and share our favorite picks for both squads’ penultimate game of In-Season Tournament Group Play.
The Pacers are 2-0 and lead East Group A, a half-game above the 2-1 76ers. The Hawks are only 1-1 with a point differential of -4, which puts them second from bottom. A win would keep Indy in first place and in position to advance to the knockout bracket, while the Hawks need to win by 17 to take over the lead (pending the result of Philly’s game).
|Indiana Pacers||+3.5 (-105)||+145||Over 251.5 (-115)|
|Atlanta Hawks||-3.5 (-115)||-175||Under 251.5 (-105)|
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The Pacers have already made a resounding impact on the league because of their unstoppable offense. Despite having only one All-Star (Tyrese Haliburton) and no MVP candidates, they are on pace to have the highest offensive rating in NBA history.
Indy’s offense is built on beautiful chaos. They have all sorts of movement off the ball that can lead to curls, pin-downs, post-ups, back cuts, decoys, or really anything in the playbook. Even though the plays seem almost haphazard at times, Halliburton's excellent decision-making and vision allow him to react and get the ball where it needs to go.
For the year, the fourth-year guard has averaged 23.5 points and 11.6 assists on 43.2% three-point shooting. Seven other players average double-digit scoring, led by Myles Turner (17.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.8 blocks) and Bennedict Mathurin (13 points, 4.3 rebounds).
The Pacers as a whole have the best assist-to-turnover ratio and commit the fourth-fewest turnovers per game. They’re also third in points in the paint, fourth in three-pointers per game, and fourth in fastbreak points, which shows how versatile they are with the ball in their hands.
Indy doesn’t put a ton of effort into the other areas of the game. They’re 21st in rebound rate and 26th in defensive rating, which means that their offense has to be firing on all cylinders for them to win—to their credit, they’ve been pretty consistent so far.
The Hawks are not redefining the game the way the Pacers are, but they’ve made considerable strides under the leadership of Quin Snyder. They’re sixth in offensive rating and also have a point guard in Trae Young (23.4 points, 11.1 assists) who’s both scoring and creating at an elite level.
Surrounding Young are long, versatile wing defenders (Dejounte Murray, Jalen Johnson, DeAndre Hunter, and others) who make plays at all three levels. But despite that, Atlanta’s defense is underperforming its potential and is only 21st in defensive rating.
Their defense is also why they find themselves on a two-game skid. They allowed the 76ers to shoot 48.9% from the field and 43.3% from three in a 126-116 loss on Friday, and two days before let the New York Knicks shoot 47.9% from the field and 47.1% from beyond the arc.
One criticism of the Hawks’ offense is their start to the year shooting the three. They’re 12th in attempts per game and 17th in percentage (35.8%) and have the potential to rank higher in both categories.
The Pacers and Hawks are relatively similar on the surface. They have a point guard who is the hub of their offense and directs pretty much everything that happens and can be a scorer or facilitator. They also have long wings that can shoot or get to the rim, although the Hawks’ players do a much better job crashing the offensive glass (fourth in offensive rebounding percentage).
Neither team plays much defense, which works to the Pacers’ advantage. There are only a couple of teams in the league that consistently want to go play-for-play with Indy’s offense, and the Hawks are not one of those teams.
That said, the Pacers are only 2-2 on the road and score an average of 6.6 fewer points per game away from their building—but the Hawks are only 2-4 at home with an average scoring differential of -.5.
We like the Pacer +3.5. Haliburton is coming off a rough game (12 points, three assists, four turnovers) but has been undeniably excellent this season. The Pacers also have the type of offense that can unravel any defense, and they can potentially lock up a spot in the In-Season Tournament bracket with a win.
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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