The In-Season Tournament championship game has arrived; it features the lightning-quick Indiana Pacers and the bruising, physical Los Angeles Lakers. See our Indiana Pacers vs. Los Angeles Lakers prediction below, including our best bets, the current betting odds, and the projected starting lineups!
Indiana Pacers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction
There is a heavy reluctance for us to fade the Indiana Pacers in this game, especially after the Los Angeles Lakers just played so far outside their usual capabilities. The Lakers shot 55% from the floor and 49% from behind the arc in their last game against New Orleans, and they have only had one offensive game this season that was objectively better: their record-tying game (22 made threes) against the Grizzlies.
Remember, this Lakers team ranks 26th in 3P% and 29th in 3PAs, whereas Indiana is sixth and fifth, respectively. One of our major concerns for this Pacers squad heading into the game against the Bucks was the substantial advantages that Milwaukee had in size, physicality, rebounding, and paint scoring.
Earlier this season, Giannis posted 54 points on 19-for-25 shooting from the floor against Indiana; it had no answer for his length, strength, and athleticism. While Giannis still posted 37 points, he is one of the toughest covers in the entire NBA, so seeing Indiana still pull out a win is impressive and answers many questions for us.
Ultimately, the key for the Pacers in this game will be limiting second-chance points. Indiana played at its pace the whole game but didn’t sacrifice too many easy buckets defensively or surrender offensive rebounds to that massive Bucks frontcourt.
Even though Milwaukee is one of the fastest teams in the league (fifth in pace), it still looked startled at the Pacers’ speed in transition and off of made baskets for most of the game, allowing them to get a lot of easy buckets, including uncontested dunks.
The most promising aspect of the Pacers’ last game, and why we feel comfortable backing them in this spot, is the fact that they scored 128 points and only shot 7-for-33 (21%) from behind the arc, which is well below their season average of 38.1%. Expect a positive regression for the Pacers’ three-point shooting in this game and a frustrated Lakers team that can’t quite keep up.
Indiana Pacers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction: Pacers +4.5
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Indiana Pacers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Best Odds
The Los Angeles Lakers are 4.5-point favorites against the Indiana Pacers for the In-Season Tournament championship game in Las Vegas. Indiana’s Moneyline odds are around +154, while Los Angeles is -185 to win outright. The point total rests at 243 but could move even higher due to the Pacers’ pace of play; the Over and Under each hold -110 odds right now.
Indiana Pacers Starting Lineup
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
Indiana Pacers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Injuries
Indiana has largely avoided the injury bug so far this season, but a minor knee injury to Andrew Nembhard in the In-Season Tournament semi-finals and a lingering heel injury for Jalen Smith will keep those two out of this IST championship game.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers have been relatively healthy this season, too, and will only be without Gabe Vincent (knee) for this matchup.
Indiana Pacers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Key Matchups
The key matchup for this game includes the red-hot, superstar-in-the-making Tyrese Haliburton and Lakers’ guard D’Angelo Russell.
Tyrese Haliburton vs. D’Angelo Russell
Haliburton has only faced off against the Los Angeles Lakers twice since being dealt from Sacramento to Indiana, as the Pacers scarcely play the “Lake Show.” However, in the two games he has played, Haliburton did exactly what he always seems to do: account for many points, whether he scores them or passes to open players who score them.
Haliburton has averaged 25 points, 13 assists, and 4.5 rebounds while finishing one of the two games with zero turnovers. Typical Haliburton. However, “Hali” has been next level during these In-Season Tournament knockout rounds, beating the title favorite Celtics and Bucks to get to the championship game; he has recorded 28 assists and zero turnovers in that stretch.
D’Angelo Russell has never been known as a star-stopper or an elite defender by any stretch of the imagination, and while there have been improvements in his defensive awareness, pick-and-roll navigation, and a few other key aspects of play on that end of the floor, they are nowhere near enough to make Hali think twice. Advantage: Haliburton.