Pacers, Nuggets win Game 4’s to knot series at 2-2

Pacers, Nuggets win Game 4’s to knot series at 2-2

After falling into an 0-2 hole by losing the first two games of the Western Conference semifinals at home vs. Minnesota, Denver went from having the second-shortest odds to win the NBA Finals to 17/1 odds going into Friday’s Game 3 in Minneapolis. But after producing two emphatic road wins over the Timberwolves to tie the series at 2-2, FanDuel had the Nuggets with +370 future odds on Monday morning.

Boston is the -140 ‘chalk,’ while Minnesota and Dallas have +800 and +850 odds, respectively. Oklahoma City, which trails Dallas 2-1 going into tonight’s Game 4 on the road, is at 13/1. New York (30/1), Indiana (50/1) and Cleveland (320/1) round out the field.

Denver (63-28 straight up, 42-48-1 against the spread) blasted Minnesota 117-90 as a 3.5-point road underdog in Friday’s Game 3. Then on Sunday night, Mike Malone’s squad raced out to a 15-point halftime lead and held on to win a 115-107 decision as a 3.5-point road underdog.

Nikola Jokic led the way with 35 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals and one blocked shot. He buried 15-of-26 field-goal attempts.

Aaron Gordon added 27 points, seven boards, six assists, two blocks and one steal, and Jamal Murray finished with 19 points, eight assists, five rebounds and a pair of steals. Gordon made 11-of-12 FGAs, both of his 3-pointers and all three of his free throws.

Christian Braun and Justin Holiday scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, in reserve roles.

Anthony Edwards scored a game-high 44 points on 16-of-25 FGAs in the losing effort. Edwards also had five rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block. Mike Conley contributed 15 points and nine assists without a turnover, while Rudy Gobert finished with 11 points, 14 boards and one block.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 13 points, 12 rebounds and three assists, but he made only 5-of-18 FGAs. The T-wolves owned a 42-31 rebounding advantage, but they couldn’t overcome 57.0 percent shooting from the field and 44.8 percent marksmanship from 3-point range by the Nuggets, who hooked up money-line supporters with a +140 return.

The 222 combined points sailed ‘over’ the 205-point total.

As of Monday morning, most books had Denver installed as a 4.5-point home favorite in Tuesday’s crucial Game 5 back in the Mile High City. The total was 206 points, while Minnesota (62-28 SU, 47-43 ATS) was in the +155 to +165 (at the Westgate SuperBook) range on the money line.

Denver has compiled a 36-10 SU record and a 22-24 ATS mark in 46 home games this year. The T-wolves are 30-15 SU and 26-19 ATS in 45 road assignments.

Indiana (53-40 SU, 49-40-3 ATS) got a tiebreaking trey from Andrew Nembhard with 17.8 seconds remaining to take a 3-point lead over the Knicks in Friday’s Game 3. The Pacers held on for a 111-106 win as seven-point home ‘chalk.’

But after three nail-biters to start the series, Rick Carlisle’s team made quick work of the Knicks in Sunday’s Game 4 to pull even at 2-2. The Pacers darted out to a 20-point lead in the first quarter before coasting to a 121-89 pimpslap victory as 5.5-point home favorites. The 210 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 218.5-point tally.

Tyrese Haliburton led six double-figure scorers with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists without a turnover in merely 27:32 of playing time. T.J. McConnell had another dynamite performance, producing 15 points, 10 assists, four rebounds and two steals in just 20:39 of action.

Obi Toppin and Pascal Siakam added 14 points apiece.

At least New York (56-36 SU, 48-41-3 ATS) was able to get its overworked starters some rest. Josh Hart, who didn’t leave the court in Games 1 and 2, played just 23:51.

Only Jalen Brunson (30:44), Donte DiVincenzo (32:04) and Miles McBride (32:17) logged more than 30 minutes of playing time. Brunson had 18 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals. DiVincenzo, who had scored 25, 28 and 35 points to start the series, was limited to seven points on 3-of-13 FGAs.

Alec Burks scored a team-best 20 points for the Knicks, while McBride had 16 points, five boards and four assists.

As of Monday morning, most betting shops had New York listed as a 2.5-point home favorite for Tuesday’s Game 5 at Madison Square Garden. The total was 216.5 or 217 points, while the Pacers were +120 on the money line.

FanDuel’s updated series price has Indiana as a -132 ‘chalk,’ with the Knicks as +108 underdogs. As for Denver and Minnesota, the Nuggets are -176 and the T-wolves are +142 ‘dogs.

New York’s OG Anunoby missed Games 3 and 4 after pulling up lame with a hamstring injury in the second half of Game 2. Although Anunoby is officially listed as ‘questionable’ for Game 5, there are reports that indicate he’s trending toward missing a third consecutive contest.

Anunoby had 13 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals in the Knicks’ 121-117 win in the series opener. In only 27:54 of playing time in Game 2, he had 28 points, four boards, three assists and one block.

New York is also playing without Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic.