Game Preview: Raptors @ Pacers



It’s been that kind of challenge getting into Indianapolis, where there Raptors are scheduled to face a Pacers team undoubtedly looking for a little revenge tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (7 PM ET, Sportsnet, TSN 1050).

The Raptors were scheduled to travel to Indy immediately following their hard-fought 102-97 road loss to the Heat on Sunday night, but a major snowstorm and subsequent deep freeze that has hit the Midwest hard has prevented them from arriving until roughly noon on game day.

NBA players are very much used to their routines, particularly on game day, but DeMar DeRozan seemed confident his teammates could overcome any disruption to their usual routine after a light practice in Miami on Monday.

The Pacers ran into some travel trouble of their own after Sunday’s 82-78 road win over the Cavs. They were unable to return home due to the frigid conditions post-game, but managed to land safely on Monday evening. That should give the league-leading Pacers (27-6) time to rest and prepare for the Raptors, who handed them their only defeat in their last eight games in Toronto to start 2014.

It all makes for another big road challenge for the Raptors, who have won seven of nine away from Air Canada Centre, against a Pacers team that’s dropped just one game at home all season (16-1).

Key Matchup – Paul George vs. Terrence Ross: The Raptors played some outstanding defence in the last matchup on New Year’s Day, with a standout effort from Ross on George for the majority of the game.

George, who is in midst of a tremendous breakout season, was held to just 12 points on 5-14 shooting from the field in that loss a week ago — a far cry from his scoring average of 23.2 points per game, good for a share of seventh in the league heading into tonight.

Casey was effusive in his praise for his second-year wing after last week’s win.

“He [Ross] was guarding one of the best wing players in the league right now in Paul George, who was coming in and was really balling,” said Casey. “T-Ross came in and did a heck of a job staying up into him, not giving him open looks and making him work for every inch he got.”

Ross has continued his great defensive play since, while George will undoubtedly be champing at the bit for tonight’s rematch.

Key Stat – Turnovers: The Raptors can help themselves immensely against a stellar defensive team like the Pacers by capitalizing on Pacers giveaways just as they did on January 1st.

The Raptors matched a season-high 12 steals that night, which contributed to the Raptors scoring a whopping 32 points of 23 Indiana turnovers (a season-high for the Pacers).

The third quarter was the turning point, where the Raptors scored 14 points off seven Pacers turnovers on their way to regaining the lead before eventually pulling away in the fourth.

By The Numbers: Raptors @ Pacers

Team Comparison
2013-14 AVERAGES 2013-14 RANKINGS
PPG 99.0 97.6 PPG 18 20
FG% .438 .456 FG% 23 11
3FG% .352 .361 3FG% 16 12
FT% .775 .786 FT% 7 5
OFF 11.8 9.5 OFF 10 25
DEF 30.8 34.3 DEF 22 3
REB 42.5 43.8 REB 21 11
AST 19.5 20.7 AST 26 17
STL 7.1 7.6 STL 22 17
TO 14.8 15.7 TO 11 21
BLK 4.6 6.0 BLK 16 5

Last Time They Met: Pacers 82, Raptors 95 – Jan. 1, 2014

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