Detroit Pistons at Indiana Pacers (-3.5, 193 o/u)
Going into the season, the Indiana Pacers (17-32, 9-13 home) knew this year was going to be tough with last summer’s major injury to Paul George. However, the squad had no idea just how tough it would prove, as an additional injury to George Hill rendered the Pacers extremely shorthanded.
Now comes word that Hill may be returning to the team, while George in on pace to rejoin the squad as early as next month.
Pacers president Larry Bird said he’d like to see his team make the playoffs. Currently, Indiana is 12th in the Eastern Conference. But they are just four games back of the last playoff spot and still have plenty of time to make a run.
“We’re not going to hold him back if he’s able to go out there and play,” Bird said of Paul George. “I want to win and that’s been my goal, to try to get into the playoffs. Hopefully, down the road, we’ll see where Paul’s at. We still have no idea whether he’s coming back or not, but it seems like every week he’s getting better and better.”
Added Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, “We had a tough situation with injuries, but I am proud of the group’s fight and heart that they’re playing with. We’re not quitting on the season just because we’re a few games out. A lot of basketball to be played, and we’re expecting to make a run. That’s a big part of the story of this season; this team is learning how to win.”
Up next for the Pacers is a home game against the Detroit Pistons (19-30, 10-14 away), who are also vying for the last playoff seat in the East. Yesterday, the Pistons beat Miami 108-91 behind D.J. Augustin’s 25 points. Augustin has seen the bulk of the playing time at point guard since Brandon Jennings went down with an injury.
“We’re all great players in this league, but it is easier to get going when you know you are going to get a lot of minutes,” Augustin said. “You can get into the rhythm of the game instead of having to play in bursts.”
Overall, the Pacers are 24-22-3 ATS. (-3.5) is the play.
(Photo credit: ruby2andor (Flickr: Roy Hibbert posts up Marcin Gortat) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)