There is likely to be little defense played Thursday night when the Indiana Pacers visit the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference play-in finale, with the winner moving on to face East top-seeded Philadelphia in Round 1. The Pacers are 3-point underdogs on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds and will be without Caris LeVert, but Malcolm Brogdon and Edmond Sumner will play after originally being listed as questionable. The total is a mammoth 237.5 points, with Wizards star given an Over/Under of 31.5.
On Tuesday about four hours before the Pacers' home tipoff vs. Charlotte, it was revealed that LeVert was in the health and safety protocols and would miss 10-14 days. The January trade acquisition had really found his groove of late, averaging 24.8 points and 7.4 assists in his previous 10.
When that news broke, the Pacers dropped from -3 to -1.5 vs. the Hornets but it didn't turn out to matter as Indiana cruised 144-117. Brogdon, Sumner, Aaron Holiday and All-Star Domantas Sabonis all were listed as questionable, but we expected them all to play and they did. I'm sure that will be the case here, but one can never be sure. Holiday and Sabonis are not on this game's injury report. Brogdon only had to play 21 minutes in the rout (which may have been his limit regardless) and had 16 points and eight rebounds. Sumner got just seven minutes off the bench and had seven points.
Washington isn't listing anyone on the injury report, but we know that Beal is not 100 percent with his hamstring injury. The NBA's second-leading scorer was a not-very-effective 10-for-25 and 1-for-6 from three-point range for 22 points in Tuesday's 118-100 loss in Boston. As noted above, William Hill gives him a total of 31.5 points in this one, with both at -115.
The Wizards swept the Pacers this season for the first time since 2016-17 and there was no defense to be found in any of them. The final scores were: 132-124 (March 29 in D.C.), 154-141 (May 3 in D.C.) and 133-132 in OT (May 8 in Indianapolis) -- all three games blasted past the Over and the highest was 248.5. At William Hill, the lean is on the Over and on Washington but not crazily so on either.
Beal averaged 31.3 points this season and 38.0 vs. the Pacers, missing one game and scoring 50 on May 8. Russell Westbrook averaged an absurd 27.3 points, 20.0 assists and 18.0 rebounds in the three games. That the Triple-Double King gets another on Thursday is a shockingly low -400 favorite, with no at +300. Westbrook came up five assists shy of a triple-double in Tuesday's loss to the Celtics.
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