Steph Curry and the Warriors are in Indiana to take on the Pacers Wednesday night. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- Golden State wraps up back-to-back road games as a 2-point underdog at Indiana on Wednesday night
- Indiana has lost three consecutive home games; the Warriors have lost four of their last five on the road
- Read below for complete analysis and a pick on the game
Numerous NBA players made their feelings known that they would have preferred to have an All-Star break without the rigors of the game itself. Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers haven’t played a regular season game since February 17.
Between complications caused by COVID-19 and the winter storm that barreled through Texas last week, the Pacers haven’t been away from Indianapolis since February 13.
Indiana is a two-point favorite at home on Wednesday against Golden State (ESPN, 7:30pm EST), and beat the Warriors when they last played on January 12, 104-95.
Golden State vs Indiana Odds
|Golden State||+2 (-110)||+110||O 228.5 (-110)|
|Indiana||-2 (-110)||-130||U 228.5 (-110)|
Odds taken from FanDuel on February 23rd
Stephen Curry missed Golden State’s game against Charlotte on Saturday with an illness, but returned to the lineup against New York on Tuesday with 37-point performance.
Golden State Flipping the Script
As long as Curry is healthy for Golden State, the top concern for the Warriors’ opponents is always their three-point shooting. Even though Curry only shot 40% from the field against New York, he made 7-of-14 attempts from beyond the arc — he had nine total made field goals in the game.
37 Points. 6 Rebounds. 6 Assists.@StephenCurry30 put on a show in New York City.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 24, 2021
The more surprising thing about Golden State has been its defensive numbers. The Warriors’ efficiency on defense has taken a bit of a dip recently, but for the season, the Warriors have been a top-five unit in that category.
Heading into Tuesday, they’ve held opponents to the second-lowest field goal percentage in the league, and the Knicks shot a brutal 39% against them.
Social media is flooded with Warriors’ fans lamenting their team’s lack of poise on defense, but per 100 possessions, Golden State’s opponents have averaged just 109 points per game, the fifth-best mark in the NBA. The Warriors have been even better in the second games of back-to-backs where they’ve allowed just over 106 ppg in those circumstances.
Indiana’s Offensive Tear
The Pacers have been a top-third shooting team this year, and they tied their season-high for points scored in a game in their last outing at Minnesota, with 134. In fact, Indiana has been the third-highest scoring team in the NBA over their last three games.
Indy has been putting up bigger scoring totals as of late without jacking up a lot of three-pointers to do so. The Pacers have shot the seventh-fewest threes in the NBA over their last three games, while scoring the third-most fast break points during that same stretch. Domantas Sabonis has been crucial under the basket, and 48% of his field goal attempts this season have been dunks or layups.
The Warriors have held opponents in check for the most part when defending high-percentage shots, but it’s not because opponents have been shooting more three-pointers against them.
Domantas Sabonis is averaging 21.5 PPG and 11.6 RPG this season to go along with 23 double-doubles, which is the 2nd most in the NBA. Out of the top 6 players with the most double-doubles, Sabonis is the only one who was not selected as an All-Star pic.twitter.com/aDMjAhPl3n
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 24, 2021
Outside of Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, Golden State hasn’t really played a team with a true feature big man lately, and Vooch scored 25 and 30 points in the two recent games the Magic played the Warriors. Sabonis has the second-highest usage percentage on the Pacers this season, and is enough of a threat from distance to keep Golden State honest on defense.
The Right Angle
Indiana has been getting some impressive performances on offense in recent games, but they have come against teams that are either struggling overall or in the bottom of the NBA in defensive efficiency. Coming off of a decent layoff since their last game, the Pacers could need a quarter to get back into the rhythm of things. Curry wasn’t sharp for most of the game against New York, and jumping right into a road back-to-back following time off due to an illness isn’t a recipe for him to go off.
The under of 228.5 seems realistic, but the Warriors have won five of their last eight, and finished the game against New York with the type of energy that looks like it could translate into momentum on Wednesday. In a nationally televised game and a bit of a revenge spot, Golden State should keep things close enough to cover the two points and potentially win outright.
The Pick: Golden State +2 (-110)
Nick Krueger has over a decade of experience in sports media, covering a wide range of events including two Olympic Games for Yahoo Sports. Other areas of focus for Nick throughout his career have included college football recruiting, NCAA athletics and Major League Baseball Spring Training.