Indiana Pacers vs. Los Angeles Clippers
After opening their five-game homestand in historically dominant fashion, the Pacers (35-19) will look to
keep the momentum rolling on Thursday night, when they welcome the Los Angeles Clippers (30-25) to
Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers will be favorites in this game.
Indiana routed LeBron James and the Lakers on Tuesday night, rolling to a 136-94 victory. It was the
Pacers' largest margin of victory ever against the Lakers and also the biggest margin of defeat of James’
career. Exactly, how good were the Pacers on Tuesday? They set season highs in numerous categories,
including points (136), margin of victory (42), assists (37), bench points (66), and 3-pointers made (19).
Pacers Guards Rolling
One of the most encouraging developments in the victory was the offensive breakout of young guards
Aaron Holiday and Edmond Sumner. Both players moved into the rotation when Victor Oladipo went down
with a ruptured quad tendon, but have been struggling with their shots in recent weeks. Rookie guard
Holiday had gone 12-for-41 from the field (29.3 percent) over the last six games. Two-way wing Sumner
was just 1-for-14 from 3-point range in the NBA this season despite shooting 40 percent from beyond the
arc in the G League.
Both bounced back against the Lakers, each tallying 17 points and going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. It
was a career night for Sumner, who scored 14 points in the fourth quarter alone and went 7-for-9 from the
field. Holiday went 7-for-10 in the second-highest scoring game of his young career.
Pacers Picking it up
The Pacers have picked up wins in their past two games over two teams (the Lakers and the New Orleans
Pelicans) mired in trade rumors ahead of Thursday's 3:00 PM NBA trade deadline. On Thursday night,
they will face a Clippers team that just pulled off a blockbuster deal that involved sending leading scorer
Tobias Harris (who will be a free agent this summer) and two other players to Philadelphia in exchange
for Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, and four future draft picks (including two in the first
Clippers Trading Players
The Clippers are currently in playoff position in the Western Conference, in eighth place and just three
games out of fourth, but this move was made with an eye to the future. Rather than risk losing Harris for
nothing this summer, the Clips got an impressive haul for a pending free agent, essentially acquiring three
first-round picks if you count Shamet, who was the 26th overall selection in last year's NBA Draft. With
that being said, they leveraged their chances now for a better chance in years to come, but keep in mind,
they won’t likely be the biggest show in town any time soon with James demanding a long hard look from
all free agents ready to make a move.
Pick and Prediction
Back to this game though, with the recent trade, I like the Pacers even more to take the win here. They
have found a winning formula of ball sharing and tough defense. Even without their stud, Victor Oladipo,
they still have done well as of late. I’ll take the Pacers to win 120 – 112.