The Pick: Pacers 97-91
The Pacers are an elite team, and I feel very confident in saying that. With that said, both of these teams have been impressive three games into the 2013-14 season.
First, I’ll crunch the numbers to show you where Vegas got the spread, and then adjust the score accordingly based on the matchup.
The Pacers should score 95 points because:
Indiana should shoot 45 percent from the field because they are shooting 44 percent this season and the Pistons are allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent. They will attempt 74.5 shots: they average 73 FGA while Detroit allows opponents to take 76 shots — 67 points
The Pistons defense shouldn’t affect the Pacers FT percentage, so let’s assume they reach their season rate of 76 percent. Detroit is sending opponents to the stripe 25 times per game while Indiana is attempting 27 a night — 20 points
The Pacers are shooting 40 percent from three-point land on 23 attempts this season, and the Pistons are allowing opponents to convert 32 percent of their 20 triples. We assumed all field goals made were worth two points in the first step, so we are adding one point per 3PM — eight points
The Pistons should score 93 points because:
Detroit should shoot 42.5 percent (they are shooting 47 percent for the season and the Pacers holding offenses to 38 percent) on 84 field goal attempts (they average 81 FGA while the Pacer opponents are taking 87 shots on a nightly basis) — 71 points
The Pistons will continue to shoot 70 percent from the free throw line on 22 attempts (they are averaging 29 FTA and the Pacers are allowing 15 freebies) — 15 points
Detroit will shoot 34.5 percent from distance (shooting 31 percent for the season while the Indiana’s defense has been hurt by the triple on 38 percent shooting) on 17 attempts (they shoot 19 a night and the opposition attempts 15 against the Pacers) — six points
The statistics say the Pacers should cover the 1.5 point spread by a half of point, but that’s cutting things a little too close. I’m adding a point to the Pacers’ final number for the improved aggression we’ve seen from Paul George through three games (FTA up 109 percent on a per game basis) and another point for David West’s ability to stretch the floor. The Pistons can defend big men, but a versatile big figures to give their paint clogging bigs significant issues.
On the flip side, I’m taking a point away from the Pistons’ total because they gave up 111 points in an overtime loss to the offensively challenged Memphis Grizzlies. That is a team that has a similar post presence as the Pacers but lacks the superstar perimeter scorer that Indiana has in George. Detroit also loses a point for their “Big Three” struggling against that formidable front line (19-for-46 from the field with 13 personal fouls and ten turnovers).
I think the Pacers can jump out and lead wire to wire, and even if that’s not the case, the free throw issues of the Pistons’ best players could loom large. Not a bad way to get even if you were burned by football this weekend.
I’ll be on Twitter @unSOPable23 during this game. I’ll always field fantasy sports questions and am always happy to discuss any professional sports topic.