The NBA dies down for one of the quietest nights you’ll find on Thursday night, when basketball fans get just one game when the Indiana Pacers travel to take on the Milwaukee Bucks. We struggled a bit in a fiery 13-game Wednesday night that had an amazing 12 of 13 home teams lose. That’s just crazy. Not that NBA bettors should solely favor the home team every night, but generally speaking you’re going to want to side with a home team if they’re the better team on paper going into a matchup. Not last night.

We failed to survive with a 6-7 mark (now 623-323 on the year), but we, just like everyone else, got burned pretty badly by numerous situations. Russell Westbrook and the Thunder flat-lined, LaMarcus Aldridge randomly played for the Blazers, Memphis got destroyed at home by the Cavs and the Nuggets lost at home to the 76ers. Nearly every team losing at home in general set us back a bit, but some of these games just made no sense. On a night where Brook Lopez was the leading scorer and guys like Terrence Ross and Nik Stauskas were relevant, we’ll just have to take it all for what it is.

As crazy as last night was, Thursday night will be the exact opposite when the Pacers and Bucks meet up at the Bradley Center. Not only are they the only game on the docket, but both of these teams average less than 98 points per game and play fantastic defense (neither allows more than 97.4 points per contest). On one hand fans are probably in for a gritty battle, but on the other it’s probably going to be a slow moving game with low scoring. That being said, it deserves a break down. If you’re refraining from NBA betting on a light night, enjoy the return of March Madness. Otherwise, continue on as we pick tonight’s lone matchup:

Indiana Pacers (31-40) @ Milwaukee Bucks (35-36) 8:00 pm ET

Every game between these two divisional rivals has been hard fought this year, as the Bucks took the first game 87-81 and the Pacers edged out the Deer the last two times, 94-91 and 109-103 in an overtime thriller. The most recent clash came just 14 days ago and probably gives us the best indication of what we can expect tonight. Another overtime game probably isn’t in the cards, but when you have two teams that run methodic offenses, play sound defense and are contending for playoff spots, things get real pretty quickly. They’re going to stay real, too, as these two squads match up extremely well.

The key tonight is undoubtedly going to be the availability of explosive scorer Rodney Stuckey. He lit up the Bucks for 25 points in the last meeting but is questionable for tonight after missing the last couple of games. If he returns, the Pacers should have the offense to contend with a younger, sleeker Bucks squad. That’s the other issue for Indiana, as Milwaukee can get out and run a little bit better and will kill you in transition off of their defense. Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the keys on the wing, as both swing men are extremely versatile and can hurt you in a numbers of ways. Containing them won’t be easy, considering C.J. Miles and Solomon Hill let them score a combined 30 points last time out.

The point guard position is an arguable wash, as neither George Hill or Michael Carter-Williams could contain each other last time and probably won’t tonight, either. The key may be down low, where Zaza Pachulia has been great but will have to take on Roy Hibbert – who wasn’t around for the OT affair. If Hibbert can be on top of his game, Pachulia could have a difficult time at both ends.

One glaring factor in this matchup is the fact that the Bucks are absolutely reeling. They won their last game, but have now lost seven of their past 10 and really need to pump the brakes. Indiana needs to win to make sure they even get into the playoffs, but Milwaukee is still the better team and is playing at home. Considering Indy is just 13-22 away from home this year, the Bucks should be carrying a distinct advantage, while evening the season series at 2-2 is a must for playoff seeding purposes. Unlike last night, home court advantage will hopefully mean as much as it arguably should.

Pick: Bucks 94, Pacers 91

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