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The Detroit Pistons (2-13) have lost 12 straight games and will take on the Indiana Pacers (8-6) in both teams’ final matchup of In-Season Tournament Group Play.
The Pacers are 3-0 and already clinched the East Group A title. They, along with seven other teams (four from each conference), will advance to a single-elimination knockout bracket.
Detroit is 0-3 in the In-Season Tournament and will not advance to the next round. However, they desperately need a win to get their confidence back and move in the direction they seemed to be headed in at the start of the season.
Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our favorite pick for Friday’s In-Season Tournament showdown.
The Pacers are 9.5-point favorites at home. They already made history this week in a 157-152 regulation win against the Atlanta Hawks, a game that had the highest projected points total (252.5) in league history.
|Over 246.5 (-115)
|Under 246.5 (-105)
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The Pacers’ offense has been one of the top stories of the 2023-24 NBA season thus far. Their offensive rating (122.7) is on pace to be the highest in NBA history, and it’s still early, they seem to be capable of beating any team in the league on their night.
Indy’s ability to run its offense comes down to the brilliance of Tyrese Haliburton (25.3 points, 12.3 assists). They run a multitude of actions that involve off-ball movement, pin-downs, curls, cuts, and hand-offs, oftentimes in a chaotic way. Halliburton's vision and ability to put the ball on the money helps knit everything together to form the league’s most terrifying attack.
All of this comes despite the Pacers missing the playoffs a year ago. As it stands, they’re the sixth seed in the East and 3.5 games out of first place.
Indy tasted defeated in its game against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, 132-131. Haliburton led the charge with 33 points and 16 assists, while Buddy Hield put up 31 points on 7-12 three-point shooting.
The major concern for this team is defense. Their defensive rating is the worst in the league, and they rank 27th in defensive rebounding percentage.
Fittingly, that’s led to them ranking 27th in second-chance points allowed to opponents. But then again, their offense is so explosive at every level that they can afford to play that way (in the regular season).
The Pistons are still trying to figure out who they are. The front office handed former Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams a six-year, $78.5 million contract to rebuild the roster and bring them back to prominence after they missed the postseason every year since 2019.
Williams has certainly implemented his philosophy since arriving. He’s made it clear that he wants to focus on defense, which led to the benching of former fifth-overall pick Jaden Ivey and increased minutes for guards Killian Hayes and Marcus Sasser.
However, Detroit’s toothless offense led to more changes. The team signed Kevin Knox II and almost immediately inserted him into the starting lineup because of the spacing he provides, and which the team severely lacked.
Cade Cunningham (21.4 points, 7.3 assists) has come under criticism for failing to take the third-year leap that many young stars do. That’s despite his points and assists total being the highest of his career and him still having arguably the worst spacing in the league around him.
Jalen Duren has not played since November 10 because of an ankle but will be back Friday. When last seen, he averaged 12.6 points and 10.6 rebounds and had a great rapport with Cunningham in the two-man game.
Even though they haven’t won in two weeks, the Pistons still have potential. They’re working to figure out their starting five and rotation but play tenacious defense and are strong on the boards (third in rebound rate).
The return of Duren will also give them another point of attack moving downhill. His ability to catch the pass on a short roll and also be a lob threat will force opposing defenses to help more, which will give more space to shooters on the perimeter. That in turn should help Detroit improve from 20th in three-point percentage (35.2%).
With all of that said the Pistons have no hope of consistently keeping pace with the Pacers’ high-flying offense. Halliburton is a surgeon at the point of attack and is surrounded by a cast of players who can shoot, take the ball inside, and fly down the court.
We like Indy to win this game and think it will finish right around where the line is set, but we’ll take the Pistons to cover.
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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