Along with the re-opening for dine-in at Ben’s Chili Bowl on nearby H Street, and whatever they are doing in Congress, the real buzz on Capitol Hill for Thursday has to do with this East 8-seed eliminator at Cap One Arena between the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers. We’ll give you one guess who the East top seed Sixers are pulling for to become their first-round foe; hint, it’s not Washington. Given a choice, Philly would certainly rather not risk a short series with the combustible Wizards, who didn’t detonate in Tuesday’s 7-8 play-in game vs. the Celtics. And definitely not from long range, where Washington missed on 18 of its 21 triple attempts, inconsistent with the torrid form of the Wiz down the stretch when they won 16 of their last 20 regular-season games to barge into the postseason mix.
|575/576||Score||Line||PR||GS Line||Avg. PR||Avg. OPR||SUR (H/A)||ATS (H/A)||O/U (H/A)||Pts. Diff. (H/A)||Avg. Ln. (H/A)|
|Indiana||119||8||7||8||14-23 / 21-15||13-23 / 19-16||21-16 / 25-11||-1.9 / +2.7||-0.5 / 0|
|Washington||129||NL||11 (3)||PK||11||8||18-17 / 15-21||18-17 / 22-13||19-16 / 17-19||-0.5 / -3.5||+1 / +4|
Indiana knows what sort of havoc that Washington can wreak, having gone down in a hail of Wizard buckets in a pair of early-May losses when Washington scored 139 ppg in regulation time (144 pg if adding a five-minute OT in the May 8 win). Adding a 132-124 win for Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal & Co on March 29, Washington scored better than 138 ppg while sweeping Indy in the regular season. Speaking of Westbrook and Beal, they inflicted serious damage on the Pacers in the recent meetings, with Russ including Indiana in his recent triple-double parade (combined 47 points, 40 boards, and 41 assists across those pair of early May win), while all Beal did was drop 50 in the Wiz OT win at Bankers Life on May 8. We don’t want to discount the Pacers, who certainly didn’t look like a team mad at their coach (as has been rumored regarding under-fire Nate Bjorkgren) when blasting the Hornets to smithereens in the 9 vs. 10 win on Tuesday, hitting 55% from the floor in a 144-117 romp.
The return of Malcolm Brogdon (who scored 21) to active duty compensated for the absence of recently-percolating G Caris LeVert, who has been sidelined by protocols. And whatever Bjorkgren’s critics, he has his team firing away no matter the personnel mix, scoring 125 or more in five of the past eight games. But this matchup has been dicey for the Pacers, and the price is not prohibitive for Washington…as long as the “bad Wiz” that caused a stench in Boston doesn’t reappear. “Totals” alert-though Washington games have featured a bit slower pace the past week with four straight “under” results, the Wiz was “over” six straight and 9 of 11 prior, while Indy on an 11-3 “over” run into Cap One. All three regular-season meetings blasted “over” as well.
Free NBA Pick: Wizards and Pacers-Wiz “Over”
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