Revenge-Minded Pacers take on Suns in Thursday Night NBA

Phoenix Suns +11.5 at Indiana Pacers -11.5  Total: 199.5

Revenge will be on the Indiana Pacers’ mind tonight as they welcome the Phoenix Suns to Indianapolis. The Pacers were dealt their worst loss of the season just over a week ago at Phoenix, losing 124-100 to the Suns. The 124 points were the most they allowed under coach Frank Vogel, while the Suns shot 54.2 percent in what was arguably their best game of the season.

“Heck of an offensive performance by the Phoenix Suns,” Vogel said after that loss. “Their shot-making was off the charts.”

The Suns haven’t cooled off much since that victory, following a home loss with three straight wins on their four-game trip. They’ve averaged 116.3 points during that streak and had another hot-shooting night in a 126-117 victory over lowly Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Suns are outplaying expectations and in a big way. Expected to be in the lottery mix as one of the worst teams of the season, Phoenix has already tallied 26 wins, against 18 losses.

Phoenix has been winning with offense at 105 PPG (tied for fifth). They’ve won the first three games of a four-game road trip that ends tonight – at Cleveland (99-90 as 2-point dogs), at Philadelphia (124-113 as 5-point favorites) and last night at Milwaukee (126-117 at 8.5-point favorites). The Suns are 6-1 against the spread on zero days rest and an impressive 8-2 ATS against teams with a .600 or better record. The last time these two trends crossed, the Suns beat the Rockets in Houston 97-88 as 9.5-point dogs.

The Suns are scoring 105 points per game so far this season, en route to a 27-18 record overall and a 30-14-1 record against the spread. Phoenix has given up 101.6 PPG, and have an O/U record of 24-19-2 on the year.  On defense, the Suns have held their opponents to a 45% field goal percentage, 34% from three point land. They are creating 15 turnovers per game , and blocking 4.2 shots per game. Their assist to turnover ratio is 1.34.  The Suns are shooting 46% from the field so far this season, with a 37% success rate from beyond the three point line. Their overall rebound percentage is 49%; its offense rebound rate is 27% with the defense collecting 72% of their opponent’s misses. The Suns are shooting 76% at the free throw line this year.

Indiana is glad to be back home after a muddling through a five-game road trip. It finished at 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS, with the defense allowing an uncharacteristic 106 PPG. Foul trouble for center Roy Hibbert was one reason why. The team still leads the NBA in scoring defense (90.2 PPG).

The Pacers have been deadly at home, winning 21 of 22 games, including 10 straight since losing to Detroit on Dec. 16. They are 16-6 this year at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers have outscored opponents by an average of 15.8 points at home, and no team has scored more than 92 against them during the 10-game run.

Indiana is 35-9 on the season, averaging 98.7 points per game while giving up 90.2. They are 29-15-0 against the spread, with their over/under record 18-26-0.  When their opponents have the ball, the Pacers are allowing 41% shooting from the field, including 33% from the three point line. Its defensive rebounding rate off those misses is 77%, and the team is averaging 7.2 steals and 4.4 blocks per game so far this season.  On offense, the Pacers are shooting 46% from the field, including 36% from deep. Their free throw percentage so far this season is 78%, and they have gotten rebounds off their own misses 25% of the time. Indiana has turned the ball over 14.5 times per game this year, and have seen their shots blocked an average of 5.7 times per game.