Denver Looks For Division Lead In Indiana
The Denver Nuggets go for a third straight win and the outright lead in the Northwest Division when they visit the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. Denver has won two in a row and is tied atop the Northwest with the Utah Jazz heading into Wednesday’s action. Indiana has long since been eliminated from the playoff hunt and comes into this contest on a four-game losing streak. This one seems like it could be a blowout, but before you make your bet online, take a look at our in-depth preview of the game.
Nuggets Putting It Together At Right Time
As the Utah Jazz are slumping, having dropped five in a row, the Nuggets are taking advantage, moving into the division lead as well as a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference standings. A big part of the team’s success – as always – has been the play of center Nikola Jokic, who is looking like a top MVP contender and is the main focus of the Nuggets’ offense even as teams focus on stopping him.
“We still have to get him the ball,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said after Monday’s win over the Charlotte Hornets. “We still have to be better in terms of our reaction to the double-team, our spacing, our ability to use our dribble to get a better angle, use pass fakes, whatever it may be, because he has to touch it.”
It’s a solid strategy, considering Jokic is in the top 10 in the league in scoring (10th at 26.3 points), rebounding (second at 13.6) and assists (eighth at 8.0) and can make his teammates much better when he has the ball in his hands. Jokic is coming off a triple-double of 26 points, 19 rebounds, and 11 assists against the Hornets.
A big beneficiary of the attention Jokic draws is forward Aaron Gordon, who had 21 points and seven boards against the Hornets. Gordon is averaging 14.7 points in his first full season with Denver but has scored 20 or more points in three straight contests.
Pacers Playing Out The String To End Season
There was a lot of promise for the Pacers heading into the 2021-22 season, but that’s gone as the final games of the schedule are being played. The team’s roster has been rehashed and coach Rick Carlisle is left to spend the last few weeks seeing what he has for next season.
Leading scorer Malcolm Brogdon (19.1 points, 5.0 assists) has been out since March 18 for “rest,” and it’s likely he won’t be on the court again this season. The Pacers would rather see how some of the new pieces that came with trade-deadline deals, fit in.
One of those is guard Buddy Hield, who has been Indiana’s top offensive weapon since he came to the team from the Sacramento Kings. Hield is averaging 18.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.9 assists in 20 games with the Pacers, shooting 37.0% from 3-point range.
Another of the midseason acquisitions from Sacramento is Tyrese Haliburton, who will likely be taking over for Brogdon at the point going forward. The 22-year-old is averaging 16.7 points and 9.7 assists per game with Indiana, showing that he’s the likely long-term answer in the backcourt for the Pacers.
Denver Nuggets vs Indiana Pacers Head-to-Head
The Denver Nuggets edged the Indiana Pacers by three points when these two teams played in the Mile High City in early November. Of course, a lot has changed for the Pacers since then, so getting the same kind of result in this one is unlikely.
Denver has won three straight against the Pacers, having swept the season series a year ago. The Nuggets have also won eight of the last 11 meetings, and the NBA lines favor them to continue that dominance in this one.
Denver Nuggets vs Indiana Pacers Game Information
- Game: Nuggets (45-31) vs Pacers (25-51)
- Location: Gainbridge Fieldhouse
- Day/Time: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. ET
- Nuggets vs Pacers Live stream: NBA Game Pass
Denver Nuggets vs Indiana Pacers Betting Lines
Denver Nuggets vs Indiana Pacers Prediction
There really isn’t much for the Indiana Pacers to play for in this one, though the players that do get on the court will certainly put up a fight early. Still, the Denver Nuggets are gearing up for the postseason and feature possibly the best all-around player in the game today, so it’s hard to see Indiana hanging for long.
When making your NBA picks, take Denver to win and cover on the road.
Pick: Denver Nuggets -9½ (-110)