It’s an interconference battle between teams on opposite sides of the playoff cut line on the parquet floor in the Hoosier State. The Phoenix Suns are on the road as they travel to face the Indiana Pacers Friday night. Phoenix comes in off a 99-95 road victory over Toronto Tuesday night in their previous contest. Indiana was swept in a home-and-home series with the Celtics, falling 119-100 at home Wednesday night in their most recent game. In the all-time regular-season series between the teams, the Suns hold a 50-43 advantage but the Pacers have won seven of the last nine matchups, including a 122-111 road win in the most recent matchup back on March 13, 2021.
Phoenix Suns Looking to Earn Road VictoryPhoenix bounced back from a home loss to Miami as they edged Toronto on the road for their fourth win in five games. The Suns entered Thursday 31-9 on the season, leaving them with a one-game edge over Golden State for the top spot in both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference as a whole. Against Toronto, Phoenix trailed by 11 on multiple occasions in the first half only to cut the deficit to two at halftime. The Suns rallied to lead by six with 4:13 to play before surrendering a 7-0 run to trail 90-89 with 1:41 remaining. Devin Booker hit the go-ahead jumper with 1:02 to go and the Suns held on down the stretch to earn the victory. Phoenix shot 47.3% from the field, including 11 of 32 from three-point range, to help shake off 20 turnovers in the victory. Jae Crowder had 19 points to lead the Suns in the victory.
The Suns enter this contest 6th in the league in scoring offense as they average 111.8 points per game on the year. Phoenix stands 8th in rebounding with an average of 45.8 boards per contest while they are 4th by dishing out an average of 26.1 assists per contest. The Suns are 6th in the league in scoring defense as they allow an average of 104.8 points per game this season. Devin Booker leads the team with 23.4 points per game this season. Cameron Johnson (11.9 points), Mikal Bridges (12.4 points, 3.9 rebounds), Chris Paul (14 points, 10.1 assists), Deandre Ayton (16.8 points, 10.9 rebounds) and Jae Crowder (9.4 points) are good offensive weapons. JaVale McGee (10 points), Landry Shamet, Cameron Payne (10.2 points), Frank Kaminsky (10.6 points), Abdel Nader and Elfrid Payton are solid contributors in the rotation. Phoenix is 3rd in field goal percentage by shooting 47.3% from the floor as a team on the year. The Suns are 18th as they knock down an average of 11.8 three-pointers a night while the team is 5th as they splash 36.9% of their attempts from beyond the arc this season. Johnson (ankle), Nader (knee) and Saric (knee) are all out while Kaminsky has been out since November 21 with a stress reaction in his knee.
Indiana Pacers Hoping to RegroupIndiana suffered their second straight loss and their eighth in the last nine games as they were handled in the home half of their home-and-home set with Boston Wednesday night. The Pacers entered Thursday fourth in the Central Division, 13.5 games behind the Bulls for the top spot. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team was 13th, nine games behind Cleveland for the final guaranteed playoff spot and six games behind the Celtics for the final spot in the play-in tournament. Against Boston, Indiana trailed by 10 after the opening quarter and by five at the half before giving up an 8-0 Boston run to start the third quarter. That sealed the fate for the Pacers, who didn’t get closer than nine after that. The Pacers shot 46.5% from the field, including a dismal seven of 36 from three-point range, and allowed Boston to shoot 51.3% in the game. Myles Turner led the Pacers with 18 points in the loss.
domas dishes ➡️ caris crushes pic.twitter.com/bEOJas38Cz— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) January 13, 2022
For the year, Indiana is 20th in the league in scoring offense with 107.7 points per game this season. The Pacers are 18th in rebounding with an average of 44.4 boards a night while they are 14th in assists by dishing out 24 dimes per contest. Indiana is 17th in scoring defense as they allow an average of 108.1 points per game on the year. Domantas Sabonis is leading the team with 19 points plus 11.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Malcolm Brogdon (18.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists), Chris Duarte (13.1 points), Caris LeVert (17.7 points) and Myles Turner (13 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks) are averaging in double figures. Oshae Brissett, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday (10.3 points), T.J. McConnell and Torrey Craig are other rotation pieces for Indiana. The Pacers are 15th in the league in field goal percentage as they are shooting 45.7% from the floor as a team. Indiana is 23rd in the league in threes per game as they splash 11.5 triples per contest and the team is 28th by shooting 32.3% percent from beyond the arc on the year. T.J. Warren continues to recover from foot surgery that cost him all but four games a season ago and is expected to be out until at least mid to late January. McConnell had surgery for a torn ligament in his hand on December 7 and could miss the rest of the season. Brogdon (Achilles) left Wednesday’s game and didn’t return so keep an eye on his status while Duarte (personal) missed that contest. It’s unclear if either will take the floor here.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Indiana is struggling mightily of late with eight losses in their last nine games. If it wasn’t for the struggles that the Pistons have had this season, the Pacers would be buried in the basement of the Central Division. Meanwhile, they have to face a Phoenix team that entered Thursday with the top record in the league and who has a ton of depth to work with in their rotation. The Pacers could be minus Brogdon and Duarte again here, which would take out a pair of their top scoring options. Dealing with a Phoenix team that is more than competent on both ends of the floor is going to be too much for Indiana to handle here. Look for the Suns to rise again as they deal the Pacers a defeat in this contest.
Full-Game Total Pick
Phoenix comes in having seen the under hit in 21 of their 40 games this season, with one push. The Suns are fifth in the league in pace as they average 99.7 possessions per game on the year. Indiana has seen the under hit in 22 of their 42 games in regard to the total this season going into this game. The Pacers are 23rd in the league in tempo as they average 96.7 possessions per contest. Phoenix has been sharp on the defensive end of the floor and with the Pacers potentially missing a couple of key pieces, this one ends up falling short of the total.