The Pacers are 1-0 and looked really good against the Pistons in their opener, they blew them out of the water by halftime and coasted the rest of the way. If you had to pick “up and coming” teams in the East, Indiana would be near the top of that list. They’re buoyed by last year’s playoff performance, have added a key veteran free-agent in David West, and have a core that as a Raptors fan you have to be a little envious of. You know of Roy Hibbert, the Hoya who was shipped on draft day in exchange for a decaying Jermaine O’Neal, you might also know UNC alumni Tyler Hansbrough, and there’s also Darren Collison and Paul George, the latter now starting for them.

What I’m trying to get at is that the Pacers are a legit threat, and the Raptors will be truly tested at home tonight. The win in Cleveland is now but a memory, and tonight is the only outside chance at a W given the upcoming three games, all on the road: Dallas, Orlando, and New York. If the starting lineup holds up from the Cleveland game, the matchups would be:

George vs. DeRozan: This is the most intriguing of them. The Pacers are basically starting two small forwards in Granger and George because they want to fit them both in the lineup. George does have the length to check twos in this league, but his overall defensive capability, much like DeRozan, has found to be lacking so far. DeRozan can’t rely on his jumper against George because that’s what George would prefer, the Raptor needs to test his lateral quickness and force the Pacers interior defense to rotate.

Bargnani vs. West: Height advantage at the PF. This will be a recurring theme for the Raptors this season. Two things need to happen for Bargnani on every night: he can’t let the higher agility of his matchups get the better of him on defense, and he needs to take advantage of his size in his new role. In that order. Bargnani needs to realize that West is not a great defender and can be coaxed into leaving his feet and conceding space for short mid-range unblockable jumpers. Coincidentally, the mid-range game is also West’s forte. Let’s see who wins out. It’s safe to say this matchup poses a much different challenge for Bargnani than Jamison did.

Granger vs. Butler: Offense vs. defense here, and this matchup goes beyond the starters for the Raptors. We’ll no doubt see James Johnson check Granger for parts of this game with the goal being to limit his clean looks (career 39% 3FG), and his forays to the rim. Tough task, I’d say if you have to concede one, start by testing his jumper.

Hibbert vs. A. Johnson: This one’s a little concerning because Hibbert comes in 50lbs heavier than Johnson. Aaron Gray’s still got the irregular heartbeat, and I’m thinking Casey will opt for the bigger Magloire here because he can’t expect Amir Johnson to contend with Hibbert on his own. The collective matchups pit length against strength: Johnson/Davis/Bargnani/Magloire vs. Hibbert/Hansbrough/West/Amundson. The Raptors have their hands full in trying to win the rebounding battle, especially on the offensive glass.

Calderon vs. Collison: Never been too high on Collison, don’t ask me to explain it but it has to do with his shoot-first mentality and court vision. I realize it’s early in his career and all that change, actually, in that sense he’s a little like Jerryd Bayless. Speaking of who, I can see Casey going to Bayless earlier than usual if Collison gives Calderon any trouble. The other matchup at the G spot is Leandro Barbosa vs. Dahntay Jones, and I expect Barbosa to come through there.

This should be an entertaining game in the sense that we’ll be seeing two young teams try to go 2-0 in the early season. From the Raptors perspective, DeRozan has to assert himself against George and can’t have a repeat of his subpar game where he was anonymous for large stretches. If this is the season where he announces himself as a potential star in the NBA, then it’s matchups like these against his draft class that he has to excel in.

The three-point shooting was rock solid against Cleveland, and we should expect regression to the mean to kick in so offense needs to come from other areas. The Raptors will need to slow the game down because they cannot win it in a track meet, it has to be in the halfcourt. Bargnani, DeRozan and any of our wings missing jumpers can be dangerous because they’re the perfect fuel for Collison, George and Granger to get started on the break. This is a matchup where everyone has to cover back in transition and play smart offense: slow it down by getting to the foul line, and make this a game where execution trumps talent.

Some bad blood to watch out for:

Indiana was angered that Raptors guard Leandro Barbosa tried to add to his season-high 29-point effort with a drive to the basket – instead of dribbling out the clock – with six seconds left.

Toronto argued that it was payback for Pacers point guard Darren Collison hitting a long 3-pointer as time expired in the Jan. 31 matchup.

“If I was on him, I would have took (Barbosa’s) head off and I would have been suspended for a game for a flagrant foul,” said Granger, who led with Pacers with 19.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in the season series. “Stuff like that will sit in the back of your head the next time we play Toronto. We don’t play them again but if I was on him, I would have taken his neck off.”

Video of the Pacers doing their nonsense and video of Barbosa talking after scoring late. My take? Indiana’s got to accept that payback’s a bitch.

The injury has Aaron Gray sidelined for the Raptors with Colangelo saying (Update: he’s available):

“We’re just being very precautionary obviously with the sensitivity of that particular scenario,” Colangelo said. “The kid reportedly feels fine, but we don’t want to take any chances.”

There is a report out there that says the Raptors are after Fesenko, which would mean that the Raptors would have to cut somone: Alabi or Gray? (Update: The guy signed with GSW.)

For the Pacers, Jeff Foster is out. On that note, so am I.

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  • Matt52

    Arse, Fesenko signed with GSW last night.

    Other than that, good write up!

    • Arsenalist


  • AB7.38pt.on.cb4

    After Cleveland, Raptors (1) – Haters (0) 

    • superraptor


  • cc

    I would like see JJ (WORLD PEACE) shut Granger down at tonites biock party

  • Sheptor

    This will be a great game tonight. I think Bargs will have a monster tonight 26 10 and 2 blocks. The pacers may find themselves up early with the raps making a 4th quarter run.

    • points

      wow! 26 -10 and 2 blocks this isn’t a preseason game or a friendly this is the real thing

  • superraptor

    I hate danny granger he’s so cocky, I hope JJ knocks his ass out.  I think home court advantage will prevail and the raptors will pull this one out.

  • onemanweave

    If you’d bring Bayless in early for defense, you were watching a different first game than I was. Jose’s defense against Cleveland was pretty good. JB’s was non-existent.

  • voy

    I’d be surprised if Casey doesn’t mix up his matchups against Hibbert and West.  On first thought I’d suspect that Hibbert is too long for either ED or Amir.  Enter Bargiani. 

    Tonight, watching the Raps vs the Pacers, I think we see that the Cavs can make me and any four other guys on this site look like a pretty good nba team.

    • points

      So the man that Bargs will be guarding, will be playing closer to the basket and not out by the three point line like Jamison,this should help Bargs ln getting to a few more rebounds plus he’s playing at home and the 2 a 1/4 thing , I’ll say he gets 8 rebounds tonight O and the “defend the house not in my house”thing . 

    • Theswirsky

      Ed Stefanski on the radio was speaking of Amir on Hibbert tonight.  That ofcourse may change come game time or as the game progresses, but I’d assume thats the safe bet to make right now.

      • sleepz

        Amazing when you can’t match up Hibbert with your teams 7 foot 260 lb player who by the way was a ‘center’ for the first 4 years of his career, but now apparently can’t play that position.

        Why not make Johnson and Davis guard players they shouldn’t be for the sake of the ‘team’?

        • voy

          if you go Amir vs Hibbert, right out of the gate, I think you run a higher than normal risk of picking up a few cheap fouls on AJ.  I like Amir on D.West alot more.  I think Amir’s motor has a chance to be taxing on D.West as the game goes on.  Then you have ED to guard either West or Hibbert as rotations dictate. 

          And finally you have Gray to lay the lumber on either Hibbert or West’s forehead/face/side of the neck depending on who has the hot hand and their position relative to the basket and Gray.

        • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

          Exactly AB’s bullchitting is setting the Raptors back in terms of player development as BC continues to coddled his Golden Child going on 6 years now- 1st SF, then C now PF…sheeeeesh, what’s next a 7’1 260 pound SG?

          No wonder CB left TDot high & dry as BC’s basketball vision was planning on playing 2 finesse PFs together- one who doesn’t rebound or defend consistently in AB.

          I mean even CB is playing some 5 for the Heat- why can’t the bigger Bargnani as well?

          Gasol is playing 5 for the Lakers sans Bynum.

          Okafor plays center at 6’9 w/o shoes.

          Al Jefferson is 6’8 w/o shoes and plays the center for Utah. 

          AB should be made to guard Hibbert while Amir guards West- point blank.

          Andrea Bargnani aka The Pope aka King Barg’s aka No Star aka I’m A PF Not A Center aka Pasta aka Golden Child aka Lazy Mofo’er.

          This is a game that should be a real test the Raptors defensive agenda as Cleveland was a DLeague type of team one of about 2 or 3 teams actually projected to be worst than the Raptors this season.

          Btw- that last second 3 shot by the Pacers against the Raptors facetiously described in the thread article was shot because their was still time left on the game clock as the 24 shot clock ran down- bad blood is for playoff bound teams playing for something not Lottery bound teams playing for nothing…..

        • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

          Is this team the Toronto Raptors or the Toronto Bargnanis?

          Is BC doing what is best for the team or doing what’s best for Bargnani at the cost to the team and player develpoment (Ed Davis)?

        • p00ka

          Has the game already happened? Or should we wait and see how the game plays out before whining about it?
          Besides, he was a center the first 4 years because that was his natural position (even though he never played it even in Europe) or because the Raps tried to fit a square peg in a round hole and finally woke up to this 7 footer being an NBA center no more than Dirk is? Which is more accurate, in your expert opinion?

          • points

            wow wow wow!

          • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

            Fyi- Dirk, who rebounds and defends with effort, actually plays center for the Mavs at times and will do so alot more this season sans TChandler……step your game up kiddo….smdh

            The Bargnani apologists up in here are some half ass suckas as this is his 6th year in the NBA not his 1st, 2nd or 3rd he should be a veteran leader on this team instead he’s a pamper spoiled brat who gets his way from BC- hey BC I don’t like playing center can I steal Ed & Amir’s minutes as a 7’1 250 pound PF…smdh

            The more BC pushes AB aka No Star as the team’s focal point the more I find it believable that the Rap’s are Stern’s pet project- experimental team for possible future Euro expansion, and that he gifted BC the 1st pick in said draft to select AB just like Cleveland won the Lottery for LeBron & received 2 high Lottery draft picks when he bolted- the NBA is a business full of storylines as dictated by Stern….

            Looks like BC has slicked you with his trickery and tricked you with his slickery…AB’s natural position……is just another pr media spin designed to buy BC’s Golden Child another year from Raptors ticket buyers & fans- we don’t believe you, you need more people……

            • p00ka

              My point is that one should be able to see past one’s nose before using the “he was a centre, but now not a centre” shtick. Otherwise, it’s empty ranting. You whiners like to turn any valid point into “fanboy” or “apologist” lameness instead of answering questions. As much as you give a good whiney conspiracy rant, over and over and over again, answer three simple questions.
              1. When did AB ever play centre before being drafted?
              2. Who ever said he was coming into the NBA with centre skills?
              3. In a 14 year history, how well have the Mavs done playing 7 ft. Dirk at centre?
              You fn single minded haters ought to really find another team that doesn’t make you so miserable.

              GO RAPS!!!

              • points

                only one player makes me miserable

              • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

                Your point is untenable.

                After the CP3 fiasco even Stevie Wonder can see what you call a conspiracy- a conspiracy only takes two people to conspire, has more legs than a centipede.

                Save your questions for someone who will waste time with that dry drama drag as Dirk has made the playoffs for 11 consecutive seasons in Dallas…..

                It’s not the team, it’s Bargnani’s seasonal coddling by BC that makes supporting the Rap’s so miserable- Toronto Raptors or Toronto Bargnanis??!!??

                What is a hater- definiton please????lmfao

                • p00ka

                  fn loser. One definition of a hater is someone who says he supports a team while carrying a tag that says the GM, his assistant, and the head coach must go, after one game, a win. Another is a clown who rants the same whine every single day. Oh, maybe that’s just a loser seeking attention.

          • sleepz

            Fair enuff.

            If the 5 is his ‘natural’ position as you’ve mentioned and he nver played it in Europe, was he a 4 prior to playing in the NBA? I believe (I could be mistaken however) that he played SF in Europe.

            Why would the 4 be the position he should play? The Nowitzki comparison comes up again but tht is based on height and shooting ability not actual skills as a ball player. There are similarities but they haven’t translated to a comparison between the 2 players as Dirk is superior in every way. Dirks not tipping out rebounds when he has position cuz he’s snagging them. He’s welcoming contact taking the ball to the rim late in Championship games, not settling for jumpers.
            This is not meant to argue about Andrea as I tihnk there is a role for him on this team, just not as the starting 4 if match-ups put him on players that make your other players cover players they shouldn’t be.

            • voy

              regardless if you wanna call him a 5 or call him a 4, its a moot argument.  Its all about matchups.  I had an inclination that Amir matched up much better against D.West and Bargs’ size/length could give Hibbert more difficulty and keep Amir on the floor longer.

              Anyway, Amir and Bargs’ 2 early fouls put the team in a hole to begin with but we’ve battled back. 

              Love the swarming defence, especially in the post. 

              Will people stop talking about Jamal Maglore like he’s always wanted to come to Toronto but was unable to do so.  Dude could have always come home but decided to chase the money.  Nothing wrong with that but lets not pretend he’s like Odysseus wanting to go home but the gods conspired against him.

  • deanr11

    Just read a tweet from Raptors PR that said Gray has been cleared to play

  • Mikey_charles

    great write up, thanks.

    anyone know a good site for downloading Raps games via torrents? I live overseas and can never watch the games live, I used to download from (it was something like that) but now that site is down.

    • rap expat


  • draftedraptor

    If the raptors are playing for a win then they should play to counter Indiana’s strengths.

    Roy hibbert – frankly we have nothing to heckle him. I’ll put Magloire on him and hope he shows more commitment than the last game.  Expect a double-double. Ed Davis or Amir on him would be disaster. I’m not sure Gray or Alabi would get any game time.

    David West – Will have an easy time against Bargnani. Bargnani will have more success on his jump shots because of the height difference.

    Paul George/Dahntay Jones- If Demar wants to learn to play D under Casey this is his chance. I would give Forbes some minutes too.   

    Danny Granger – put James Johnson and Rasual Butler on him. If we can limit his wing play and perimeter shooting he is pretty tame. 

    Darren collison – Put Jose on him. Collison has more pace but Jose will match his game.

    6th man
    Tyler Hansborough – man to watch. has a mid range game and lot of enthusiasm.I’ll put James Johnson and Ed Davis on him. Will play 20-30 minutes off the bench. Expect a double-double.

    George Hill- another man to watch. will play 20-30 minutes off the bench. Bayless needs to up his game against him. Not sure Barbossa can play him.  

  • Parkdogg

    first row sports .com

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      firstrowsports [dot] tv

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Btw- my over under on AB’s end of season double double total this season is 4…..

    • p00ka

      My over under on your IQ is 40, EQ is 4

  • KJ-B

    Dwayne Casey has got a little bit too much respect for James Johnson’s “potential”… DeRozan needs to break a few more plays (STOP) being soo nice dude! Sitting for 9 straight minutes is not a good thing… 

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      Norris Cole………

  • KJ-B

    THIS IS AN AWFUL OFFENSIVE TEAM THE WAY CASEY IS PUSHING THE ROTATION!!! HORRIBLE!!!! James Johnson taking jumper after jumper…  Jose + #7 running pick n roll after pick n roll = losing streak here we come!!!!

  • KJ-B

    Jose still hasn’t learnt how to throw a lob??? SMH…SMH

  • KJ-B

    Calderon`s shot still flat, still ignoring DeRozan on the curl and looks to have washed up boxer legs…time to go back to Euro League senor!

  • KJ-B

    Can`t hold a player down–GO DEEBO!!!!!! 14 in the 4th Q!!! (Where`s the in-game forum?)

  • KJ-B

    How whack is that, they call a 3 pt shot for #7, who bricks, and DeRozan who’s been on FiyAh, grabs the board, where #7 should be and lays it in–CAN’T HOLD A PLAYER DOWN!!!

  • Buschfire

    Boring game, expected though. Hopefully we loose more like this. Good effort but a loss so we can get a draft pick and this BS season out of the way. DeRozan was trying to let the game come to him, he’s gotta push it more in the 1st 3 quarters. not just the last. Bargs did awesome with 3 rebounds!! amazing lol. Bayless is a piece of work, he does not know how to control an offense, he is out to get points for himself thats it. Barbosa tonight was a chucker, and kept chucking last game at least he scored 14 points tonigh….well….  Where was Ed tonight? why didn’t we get him the ball more often??!? no inside play tonight. was disapointed with the defense tonight, but at least the effort was there. Made lots of mistakes…

    • KJ-B

      The difference was, we weren’t playin’ Cleveland… Casey, doesn’t seem to like younger players comin’ from the Mavs but he might want to take a 2nd look and see that our vets suck! 

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      DD stood up big time- nailing 2 late game 3s.

      AB had 4 rebs a 1 per quarter average not 2 per quarter that Casey set as a goal.smdh

      It’s like BC/Casey are spoon feeding AB in his 6th year- wtf…17 shots 21 points- sound familiar?

      • KJ-B

        Nowitzki #7 is not NOR will ever be… when will BryCo & Co. learn? 

      • Douchenozzle

        can somebody ban this faggot?

        • p00ka


  • footie

    that’s funny it’s all over again AB’s fault …