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NBA Weekend Betting: Nets vs. Pacers Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 1/28/2014 12:31:19 PM

The Brooklyn Nets enter this week having lost only one game in 2014. That’s right – the Nets, who were such a mess in November and December, have finally seemed to figure things out. Can this new-look Brooklyn team sustain its winning ways in Indianapolis against the Indiana Pacers, however?

Brooklyn Nets @ Indiana Pacers

Who would have thought that the Brooklyn Nets would be the hottest team in the Eastern Conference in the month of January? Indiana remains the top team in the East, but Brooklyn is the one that has been playing the best basketball since the calendar switched from 2013 to 2014. Indiana stumbled a few times on a recent road trip. The Miami Heat lost three straight games during the month of January. The Nets, however, have been white hot. They defeated Miami in overtime, but they’ve also won games against other good teams such as the Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, and Dallas Mavericks. They’re taking on and beating all comers. They’re also winning with a mixture of offense and defense. This past Sunday, they beat Boston by an 85-79 score on the road. They beat Dallas a few days earlier with a 107-106 score. They creamed Atlanta in London a week and a half ago, 127-110. In early January, they beat Oklahoma City on the road, 95-93. This team is winning regardless of tempo or style of play, the mark of a team that can adapt.

The Super Bowl is likely going to bring a lot of energy to New York and surrounding areas, but Brooklyn residents have to be surprised and maybe even a little excited about their professional basketball club. This team is working with better lineup combinations under head coach Jason Kidd. Deron Williams is coming off the bench and not committing very many turnovers. So many things are falling into place for a team that now seems likely to make the playoffs and quite possibly grab a home-court seeding in the first round of the playoffs. The vision the Nets had before the season is finally coming to light.

Yet, for all the ways in which the Nets might be a hard team to beat right now, Indiana is still the team that is setting the standard in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers play the best defense in all of basketball, giving up just 90.2 points per game. Only the Chicago Bulls, at 92.9 points allowed per contest, are anywhere close to the Pacers. The Memphis Grizzlies are third in the league at 96 points allowed per game. Indiana just has so many ingredients of a good defensive team. The Pacers are physical. They have height in the middle with Roy Hibbert. They have length and toughness with David West at the four and Paul George on the wing. They’re active and relentless. They make great third-quarter adjustments coming out of the halftime locker room. They do it all.

Prediction

Brooklyn has been great in January, but one has to think that the Nets’ run is going to come to an end at some point, especially against a great team on the road. The Pacers should take care of business here.

Pick: Indiana

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