Indiana Pacers vs Denver Nuggets

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The Indiana Pacers welcomed back Caris LeVert this week as the guard returned after missing time since January after having a cancerous mass removed from his kidney. LeVert was acquired by the Pacers earlier this season from Brooklyn. LeVert scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 27 minutes of action. The Pacers defeated the Phoenix Suns 122-111 on Saturday with Malcolm Brogdon scoring 25 points and Domantas Sabonis posting a triple-double with 22 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Indiana is 17-20 and second in the Central Division 6 ½ games behind front-running Milwaukee.

Denver had it’s 5-game winning streak snapped on Saturday when it lost to the Dallas Mavericks 116-103. With the loss, Denver is 22-16 and third in the Northwest standings 6 ½ games behind the first-place Utah Jazz. Nikola Jokic scored 26 points, handed out 11 assists and grabbed eight rebounds to just miss another triple-double. Denver was playing the second half of a back-to-back and did not arrive back home in Denver until early Saturday morning and an issue with Covid testing for the team also took more time than usual.

LeVert’s Return Will help Pacers Offense

The Indiana Pacers are 16th in the NBA in scoring with an average of 112.7 points per game but that should increase now that Caris LeVert is healthy and playing for the Pacers. Last season LeVert was the leading scorer for Brooklyn and scored 13 points in his debut with the Pacers on Saturday. Malcolm Brogdon is the leading scorer for Indiana with an average of 21.5 points per game and Domantas Sabonis is close behind with an average of 20.8 points per game.TJ McConnell is the dish leader for Indiana with a team-high 6.4 assists per game and the Pacers are averaging 26.4 assists and 13.2 turnovers per game for a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Sabonis cleans the glass better than all other players for Indiana with a team-high 11.2 rebounds per game. Indiana is averaging 41.7 rebounds with 33.2 per game off the defensive boards and 8.5 per game off the offensive glass. Indiana’s defense is averaging 8.6 steals and 5.9 blocked shots per game with McConnell the steals leader with an average of 1.9 per game and Myles Turner the swat commander with an NBA-high 3.3 block shots per game. Indiana is allowing an average of 112.3 points per contest which is 19th in the NBA.

Injury Report: TJ Warren remains out indefinitely with a foot injury

Scoring continues to be Denver’s key to success

Denver has the 7th highest scoring average in the NBA at 115.2 points per game, which is due to the Nuggets shooting an average of 48.5% overall and 38.6% from long distance. The leading scorer for Denver is Nikola Jokic with an average of 27.1 points per game. Jokic is shooting 56.6% overall and an impressive 41.1% from long distance. Jokic is also the dish leader for Denver with a team-high 8.6 assists per game. The Nuggets average 26.4 assists and 12.6 turnovers per game for an assist to turnover ratio of 2.1.

On defense, Denver is holding opponents to an average of 110.5 points per game which is eighth-best in the NBA. The Nuggets are averaging 43.7 rebounds per game with 33.6 off the defensive boards and 10.1 per game off the offensive glass. Jokic is Denver’s leading rebounder with an average of 11.1 boards per contest. The Nuggets are averaging 8.1 steals in 4.3 block shots per game with Jokic the steals leader with an average of 1.6 per game and Michael Porter Jr the leader in swats with an average of 1.0 blocked shots per contest.

Injury Report: Monte Morris and RJ Hampton are questionable for Monday, while Gary Harris is out until late March and Markus Howard is out indefinitely.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Denver is coming off a disappointing loss to Dallas, but the Nuggets had won each of their five games prior to that and have covered the spread in four of the last six overall. Jamal Murray had his worst shooting game of the season in the loss to Dallas missing 13 of 14 shots, but Murray is the second leading scorer for Denver and will bounce back with a strong effort on Monday against the Pacers at home. Indiana has struggled of late failing to cover the spread in seven of the last eight games and the Pacers have lost six of the last eight games straight up. Indiana has also lost 14 of the last 15 straight up against Denver.

Prediction:
Denver Nuggets -5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Denver is seventh in the NBA in scoring with an average of 115.2 points per game and Indiana is no slouch on the offensive end of the court averaging 112.7 points per game. The total has finished over in eight of Indiana’s last 11 games and in seven of the last games that Indiana has played on the road. The total has also finished over in eight of the last 11 games that Denver has played versus Indiana.

Prediction:
OVER 226.5