Toronto Raptors at Indiana Pacers Preview
The Raptors and Pacers may be two of the sneakiest teams in the NBA. With deep rosters and clutch players across the board, they have what it takes to upset any team on any given night. The Pacers recently got Victor Oladipo back, so they are just now reaching their potential. The Raptors have struggled with injuries at points in the season, but have won 12 straight. Their last matchup came in a buzzer beating victory against this Pacers squad 119-118. The return of Pascal Siakam has uplifted the spirits of many Raptors fans. While these teams matchup well, the Raptors have the clear advantage at the wing. The Pacers and Raptors have comparable guards, along with a pretty equal matchup down low. This rematch will now take place in a raucous Pacers building.
Raptors: Norman Powell, Marc Gasol, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Pacers: TJ Warren
Raptors Starting Lineup
The defending champs showed why they were Champions in 2019 for the majority of this season. With several key injuries, including a lengthy absence for Pascal Siakam, they dropped further back in the pack. Yet, they sit as the 2 seed currently in the top-heavy Eastern Conference. They still rank as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, and have continously make the other team’s best scorer struggle from the field. At the 3/4 spot, they are long, athletic, can score, can dribble, and can play in transition. They have the ball handlers and shooters at guard, along with some presence inside when healthy. This is a great team all-around.
Indiana Pacers Starting Lineup
The Pacers might have some of the deepest guard play in the NBA. They have a number of playmakers and bucket getters, as usual. Domantas Sabonis has had a great year, averaging 18ppg and nearly 13 boards a game.
As Oladipo continues to work his way back from injury, this team is certainly one to watch for upsets this postseason. Their main weakness is firepower at the wing spot, but their versatility across the board can cover this up.
Key Player Matchups
Victor Oladipo/Malcolm Brogdon vs. Fred Vanvleet/Kyle Lowry
This matchup will come down to the backcourts for both teams. In the previous matchup, Kyle Lowry erupted for 32 points and a near triple-double. Brogdon had 24, and Oladipo chipped in nicely on limited minutes. If Brogdon can continue providing consistent offense and picking it up defensively, the Pacers can win this matchup. Neither Vanvleet or Lowry can guard the guards of the Pacers. Whoever controls the pace of play will be the team who gets the best shots. Given they are at home, look for Oladipo to hope to have his best game of the season thus far.
Brogdon and Sabonis will provide their relative averages. If TJ Warren is able to play, he will be the X-factor. Don’t expect much from Oladipo yet, but do not be surprised by a great game.
For the Raptors, Vanvleet has been coasting of late, and that will continue with solid scoring and assist numbers. If Lowry can get separation and get sneaky, he is always dangerous. The Pacers guards will give him problems in their home arena in this quick turnaround.
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