The NBA’s restart in the Orlando bubble has been action-packed through the first two days. Most of the matchups thus far were tightly contested, including two single-possession games on the first night and two overtime games in the second.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Indiana Pacers Under 218.5
Philadelphia and Indiana are both playoff teams keyed by their defenses. They each sit in fourth-place in opponent’s points per game (107.4 PPG) and the Pacers are ranked seventh in defensive efficiency while the 76ers are sixth.
The biggest question for any NBA team in 2020 is how you shoot and defend the three. Indiana is above-average at preventing threes (12th in opponent’s threes attempted per game) and their opponents have the sixth-worst three-point percentage in the NBA. Philadelphia’s foes shoot threes at the 15th-best rate in the NBA, however, the 76ers allow their opponents to shoot the least threes per game. Also, the Pacers take the least three-pointers per game in the NBA.
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Both are slower paced teams, who aren’t aggressive about getting to the line. Indiana plays at the 24th-fastest pace and Philadelphia is ranked 19th in pace. The Pacers are last in the NBA in free throw attempts per field goals attempted and the 76ers aren’t much better (ranked 21st in that same category).
Indiana will be without All-Star, and defensive anchor, PF Domantas Sabonis, but how I factor that into the handicap is it’ll make it easier for the 76ers to lock down the paint and closeout on threes. And while he is pivotal to their defensive rotations, Sabonis is also their second-leading scorer.
Furthermore, Indiana’s injury report heading into this game is worrisome for the offense. Four of their five starters are listed as at least questionable (Sabonis is listed as out). That will give more minutes to their best three-point shooters – PG Aaron Holiday and SG Justin Holiday – but, again, the 76ers know this and are great at defending threes.
Eight of the last nine 76ers-Pacers games have gone Under the projected total and so will this one.
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