The Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs have taken control of their respective series in the NBA playoffs. On Thursday night, they’ll have a chance to move on to the next round but both the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors aren’t going to go out without a fight. Both the Knicks and Warriors are out home, so they’ll be the selection of many basketball betting handicappers to extend the series at least one more game.
Indiana Pacers @ New York Knicks
Odds: Knicks -4.5
The Pacers head back to the Big Apple after holding serve on their home court, winning Games 3 and 4 and the Knicks looked absolutely lost at both ends of the floor. Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points in Game 4’s 93-82 loss, but he continues to shoot poorly (9-of-23 from the field) and J.R. Smith (9-of-22, 19 points) isn’t much better. Tyson Chandler is getting outplayed badly at both ends by Indiana’s Roy Hibbert, and the Pacers are winning the battle of the boards, hands down.
The Knicks at least have a chance at Madison Square Garden, where the crowd should be able to give them an extra gear and even though the onus is on Anthony to step up, the team as a whole needs to be more efficient offensively. This is easier said than done because the Indiana defense is fierce and make you work for everything. However, the Knicks are going to find a source of offense from somewhere and they’re going to do enough to at least send the series back to Indiana for a Game 6. This will be a hard-fought battle, but go with the Knicks at home to make this a 3-2 series.
San Antonio Spurs @ Golden State Warriors
Odds: Spurs -1
These two have been going at it tooth and nail, but Game 5 was a blowout as the Spurs romped to a 109-91 victory in a game where both teams looked injured and tired from the first four clashes. Tim Duncan (14 points, 11 rebounds) got the Spurs off to a hot start, while Tony Parker (25 points, 10 assists) took over down the stretch and he really got the better of Steph Curry (nine points on 4-of-14 shooting, including 1-of-7 from beyond the arc, eight assists). The young PG from the Warriors has been hampered with another ankle injury and while he won’t make any excuses, he was clearly bothered by it. However, Parker has an ailing calf and he realizes at this point in the season, injuries don’t matter, you have to play through them.
Like the Knicks, the Warriors should get a boost from their fans as Oracle Arena has once again proven to be a rowdy place to play in the postseason, but the Spurs are too battle-tested to let that distract them and class is going to win out in this game. The Warriors have a bright future and it has been a very good season for a team that many figured would be at least one more year away from breaking out, but they’ll get eliminated on Thursday night. Take the Spurs on the sports betting lines.