Featured Video from Scott Steehn
When and where: March 16, 2019, Pepsi Center, Denver, CO, 9:00 PM ET
The Indiana Pacers face a tall task ahead in knocking off the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center in Saturday’s NBA action. Since losing to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Pacers have won back-to-back games against the Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks. Meanwhile, the Nuggets are coming off two consecutive wins over the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sabonis’ 26 points helps Pacers hold off the Thunder
Reserve forward Domantas Sabonis saved his best stuff for whenever the Pacers really needed it, and they really needed it on Thursday night against the Thunder. The Pacers had to scratch and claw their way back into the game after trailing for most of the first half. On a night where star forward Paul George scored 36 points for the Thunder, Sabonis was the unlikely hero to answer with a team-high 26-point performance.
However, his contributions weren’t limited to offensive scoring, as he also tied for a team-high seven rebounds and contributed four assists in the 108-106 win. The tipped in basket with 1.8 seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter by Pacers guard Wesley Matthews was essentially the game-winner that iced things.
Bojan Bogdanovic finished the game with 23 points, four rebounds and five assists, while Darren Collison contributed 17 points, six rebounds, seven assists and four steals. The Pacers also forced 18 turnovers and shot a combined 45.1 percent from the floor.
Nuggets survive the feisty Mavericks at home
Nuggets All-Star center Nikola Jokic made another case for NBA MVP by hitting a game-winning shot against the Mavericks on Thursday night. Granted, it wasn’t any ordinary last-second bucket Jokic scored to save the Nuggets from an embarrassing loss at home to the rebuilding Mavericks. It was a one-handed shot, while falling sideways with a defender in his face.
The Nuggets needed a rabbit pulled out of a hat, and that’s exactly what Jokic gave them.
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) March 15, 2019
All the Mavericks could do was watch in shock and absolute heartbreak as the Nuggets celebrated their second consecutive win, putting their recent 1-4 run completely in the rearview. The team shot a combined 48.1 percent from the floor, including going 8-of-29 from 3-pointer. They were only plus-one in rebounding, and they turned the ball over 11 times.
While Jokic clearly had the shot of the night, forward Paul Millsap was the player of the game with 33 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Jokic finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in the 100-99 win.
- Nuggets are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games against teams with a winning road record
- Nuggets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after an ATS loss
- Nuggets are 18-8 ATS in their last 26 home games
- Under is 11-1 in Nuggets last 12 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game
- Pacers are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 road games against teams with a home winning % of greater than .600
- Pacers are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games against teams with a winning % above .600
- Pacers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games
- Pacers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games against teams with a winning home record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Nuggets are only one game out from tying the Golden State Warriors for the most wins in the Western Conference, which adds a little extra incentive for them to go out and get a win on Saturday. They still have an opportunity to move ahead of the defending champions and land the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. As for the Pacers, they could move ahead of the Philadelphia Sixers with a win and a Sixers loss.
Don’t get down on the Nuggets because they nearly blew a home game against the Mavericks. While the Mavericks are clearly a team in rebuilding mode, they have nearly come away with recent wins against the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs as well. So Jokic’s heroics at the end of the game should not only be respected, but it should remind people of how difficult the Nuggets are to beat at home.
Despite all of their ups-and-downs on the road, they have only lost six games at the Pepsi Center this season. That success goes hand-in-hand with being one of the league’s most balanced teams. The Pacers are elite on the defensive end of the floor, but they’ll struggle to find answers to the Jokic riddle in what should be another nail-biting ending. I’ll take the Nuggets in this game.
Prediction: Denver Nuggets (-7.5)
Full-Game Total Pick
The under 9-1 in the Nuggets’ last 10 games overall and 7-2 in the Pacers’ last nine road games. This game features two of the league’s best defenses. The Pacers are ranked No. 2 behind the Milwaukee Bucks as the team with the best defensive efficiency. Meanwhile, the Nuggets check out in the top-15 in most defensive categories, setting up for what should be a tightly-contested, low-scoring game. Both of these offenses have been too up-and-down to expect anything less. Take the under in this game.
Prediction: Under (215)