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Indiana Faces Rockets Without Leading Scorer

T.J. McConnell #9 of the Indiana Pacers controls the ball during the second half against the Miami Heat at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex.

The Pacers are still playing for a top-five seed in the East, but they’ll be without T.J. Warren when they tip off Wednesday against the Rockets. Houston is also sitting out one of its top offensive players in Russell Westbrook, although star guard Eric Gordon is expected to make his bubble debut. The Rockets have won and covered the last five meetings.

Indiana Pacers vs Houston Rockets
  • Date/Time: August 12, 4 p.m. ET
  • Arena: The Arena (WWOS)
  • TV Coverage: NBA TV
  • Opening Odds: Rockets -8.5 | O/U N/A (Line History)
  • Pacers vs Rockets Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Both teams have struggled to cover point spreads in this range this season. Indiana is 0-4 ATS when catching more than 7 points, but the Rockets are 10-19 against the number as chalk of more than 7. Four of the Rockets’ last five wins over the Pacers came by nine-plus points.

Indiana News & Notes

The Pacers aren’t lacking for motivation these days as they battle Miami and Philadelphia for the fourth and fifth seeds in the East. Finishing in the conference’s top five would mean avoiding heavyweights Milwaukee, Toronto and Boston in the opening round.

Indiana can keep its hopes of a top-four finish alive by winning Wednesday and then posting another victory Friday against the Heat, who the Pacers lost to 114-92 on Monday.

Unfortunately for Indiana, it’ll have to face the Rockets without the services of T.J. Warren. After lighting up the bubble for nearly 35 points per game in his first five outings in Orlando, the small forward struggled with a sore right foot Monday and scored only 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting.

The rest of Indiana’s starters will need to find a way to pick up the scoring slack, something they didn’t do against Miami when Victor Oladipo led the Pacers with just 14. Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon are both listed as questionable for Wednesday with neck and ankle ailments, respectively.

Houston News & Notes

Guard Eric Gordon is projected to return to the lineup Wednesday after missing Houston’s first six seeding games, but he’ll likely be on a minutes limit.

Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has already acknowledged he’s more concerned about prepping his players for next week’s playoffs than winning games this week, even though Houston still has a shot at finishing third in the West and is fending off Oklahoma City and Utah for fourth.

D’Antoni rested James Harden for Tuesday’s 123-105 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, a game in which Houston trailed by as many as 29 points and shot just 14 of 48 from three-point territory. Russell Westbrook saw 28 minutes of floor time in his first action since missing two games with a right quad bruise, but he’ll be rested once again Wednesday as a precaution.

D’Antoni has hinted he hopes to play his entire roster together in Houston’s seeding-round finale Friday against Philadelphia.

Betting Pick: Pacers +8.5

Motivation has been a key factor in the bubble this week, and this game means much more to Indiana. Without Warren, I expect the Pacers to try to slow the pace and keep within this point spread throughout.

Shark Bites
  • The Pacers are 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the Rockets’ last 5 games.
  • The Pacers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games vs the Rockets.