Pacers Preview: Welcoming the Toronto Raptors


The Indiana Pacers need to get back on track, and the first step of the process begins tonight when the Toronto Raptors visit Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

WHO: Indiana Pacers (13-9) v. Toronto Raptors (16-9)
WHEN: Tonight, 7 pm ET / 6 pm CT
WHERE: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, IN)

RADIO: 1070 the Fan

The Pacers
After a disappointing show in Detroit on Saturday, the Indiana Pacers face another quality eastern conference opponent tonight in the Toronto Raptors.

After giving up over 120 points in the three-game losing streak prior to the win over Miami on Friday, the Blue & Gold returned to their old habits and gave up 118 points to the Pistons, who reached the 100 point mark with a little time left in the third quarter.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where the problem is – especially under a team coached by Frank Vogel, who is renowned as one of the best defensive coaches in the league. After the loss to Golden State, Paul George cited switching to different guys on the floor and confusion. After the loss in Detroit, C.J. Miles was less specific, only saying that they “needed to figure it out.”

Toronto lines up very well against the Pacers, as seen in the opening game of the regular season up north, but may have a different test tonight.

The Raptors
Toronto has won four straight heading into tonight’s game, most recently clobbering the Philadelphia 76ers (lol who hasn’t) by 20 points. Having played three more games than Indiana, and having won all three of those games, it’s an important clash even with it being December.

The Raptors shot the ball about league average, their 99.9 points per game on 44.2% shooting placing them 18th in the league in both categories, but defense remains their calling card. They sit just behind Indiana in steals at 9.0 per compared to the Pacers’ 9.2 per, but both squads struggle to produce the same numbers in the blocking category.

Singularly, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry lead the way in scoring with over 20 points per game for the two of them, followed by Jonas Valanciunas, DeMarre Carroll, and even former-Pacer Luis Scola.

Tonight will be about containing both Lowry and DeRozan while limiting the impact of bigger players like Valanciunas and Carroll. Offensively, Indiana has been above average in past seasons but have sacrificed some on the other end to do so. That can’t happen this evening if the Pacers are to come out with a win.