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NBA Weekend Betting: Indiana vs. Memphis Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 3/18/2014 12:03:00 PM

The Indiana Pacers have been really struggling the past few weeks, but fortunately for them, the Miami Heat have been struggling as well. Indiana might be encouraged that it is still in first place in the Eastern Conference despite an extended patch of bad play. Will the Pacers play with confidence in this road game against a Memphis team that has a lot to lose?

Indiana Pacers @ Memphis Grizzlies

The Indiana Pacers trailed the Detroit Pistons by as many as 25 points this past Saturday. The Pacers somehow rallied, caught the Pistons by outscoring them by 19 points in the second half, and then won in overtime. The win was satisfying, but the performance wasn't much different from what Indiana has displayed over the past month. The Pacers are just not as strong on defense as they were in December and January. This team has lost its rhythm and consistency. It is not the team it once was. It should be pointed out that the Pacers traded away Danny Granger and brought aboard Evan Turner, remaking the composition of their lineup. This is a team that is being reconstructed for the playoffs, and this process has also included the addition of Andrew Bynum as a backup to center Roy Hibbert. The Pacers should be somewhat concerned by their current form, but while knowing that Miami is also on a downturn, they also know that they just need to be ready for the playoffs. They have time to fix their problems without experiencing very negative consequences.

However, while the Pacers might still have time, will they be able to beat Memphis on the road? The Grizzlies are fighting for one of the final few playoff spots in the punishing Western Conference. They have a long way to go in which to seal a spot, though they have moved one and a half games ahead of the Phoenix Suns for a playoff position. The Grizzlies are tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the seventh and eighth places in the West, and they're just a game and a half behind the Golden State Warriors for the sixth seed in the West.

The matchups to watch in this game will be the ones that occur in the paint. Bynum has only recently returned to the lineup for the Pacers after an injury-based layoff, so it's a question as to how well he will be able to perform against Memphis' powerful front line of Zach Randolph and especially Marc Gasol. Bynum's number of minutes will also be a question, so the specific battle between Gasol and Hibbert is probably going to take center stage in Memphis. That one positional matchup will be worth the price of admission in Memphis. It's probably a battle the Grizzlies are more likely to win, at least at home. Randolph should be able to outplay Indiana's David West as well.

Prediction:

All in all, Memphis is a team that has been steadily rising in its conference, and the Grizzlies' ability to maintain an upward trend is precisely what should make them a favorite against Indiana at home.

Pick: Memphis

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