Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 7:00 AM
The Indiana Pacers looked to be in great shape in their second round Eastern Conference series with the New York Knicks. They were leading three games to one, knowing that they were undefeated at home throughout the postseason and had already proven they could win in New York. Suddenly, news of a concussion to starting point guard George Hill cast doubt over the proceedings.
*Indiana doesn’t have the depth to deal with key injuries at this level
*Indiana, in particular, doesn’t have a lot of good ballhandlers
*Guard play is very important when championships are on the line!
There was plenty of cushion when the series margin was 3-1. Maybe Hill would only miss a game. Maybe they could win without him and start preparing for Miami in the Eastern Finals. Once the Pacers took the floor Thursday Night, a cloud of doom appeared over their heads.
*The offense ground to a halt, scoring just 75 points one game after hitting 93 in a home victory the prior game.
*Turnovers were frequent and ugly! Indiana lost the ball a whopping 19 times as they struggled to get any flow going offensively.
*The bench was exposed as being ill-prepared to replace what Hill brings to the floor. Some teams can deal with an injury to their point guard on a short term basis. Indiana couldn’t deal with it for more than a few minutes.
*Reports of Hill sitting in the dark in the bowels Madison Square Garden to avoid bright lights didn’t bring much optimism about a quick recovery. Everyone’s very careful with concussions now (well, most everyone!) for very good reasons. You don’t bounce back the next day like nothing happened. Hill may or may not be back for Saturday’s Game Six (you’ll know more by the time you read this). He may not even be able to return to the series.
Handicapping Saturday’s sixth game will depend very much on the role Hill is or isn’t able to play for the Pacers…and the role the loud home crowd may or may not be able to play in inspiring the rest of this team to rise to the occasion and close out the series.
NEW YORK at INDIANA
Vegas Line: Indiana by 4.5, total of 177.5
Indiana Leads 3-2
The market hasn’t made much of an adjustment as of press time. There seems to be an expectation that Hill will be ready to go. Indiana was -5 in the first two home games, and is only -4.5 here. Hill is worth more than half a point! If news breaks that Hill can’t go, we would expect sharps to invest in New York on the news.
You’ll note that the total has dropped significantly from the last few games. Oddsmakers stuck in the low 180’s while the last three games landed on 153, 175, and 160. If Indiana has to win with defense, the market may regret not adjusting downward even more.
Average Result: New York by 1.4
Average Total: 173 in regulation
That’s not quite a neutral court representation because New York has played an extra home game. Indiana when healthy looks like the better team in terms of what’s best suited to win playoff games. Without Hill, the pendulum switches the other way.
JIM HURLEY is working very closely with his New York based sources and other scouts to find out whatever he can about Indiana’s readiness for this Saturday Night showdown. His computer programmers are running simulations with and without Hill…and then with Hill in reduced minutes. His Wise Guy sources offshore and in Las Vegas have their fingers on the pulse of the market.
You can purchase the final word on the side and/or total here at the website during the day Saturday. Be sure to sign up for THE PREAKNESS as well, with big race and full card options available. It’s also a huge day in baseball, making this one of the biggest betting days of the whole Spring/Summer calendar!
If you have any questions about the weekend, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.
Back with you Sunday for a series preview of Memphis/San Antonio in the Western Conference finals. When championships are on the line, you need WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!