It’s going to be a relatively quick pre-game today since we’re on a back-to-back and, well, we’re all probably a little exhausted from last night’s triple overtime loss.
As it is, the team travelled late to Indiana and will play the Pacers, who defeated the Raptors on opening night, 90-88. As I mentioned in my post-game, that was a loss under better circumstances, with Lowry healthy, able-bodied wing players in the lineup, and with the benefit of rest and a lively home crowd. Instead, the team will be without Lowry, Fields and Anderson once again, tired from a travel night and a triple overtime game that saw Jose Calderon log 50 minutes and DeMar DeRozan log 60.
By the way, before I jump into the breakdown I should note that as per the latest news I have, Lowry did NOT travel with the team, but he tweeted, “Indy! This being injured is for the birds!” which could be taken as him having made the trip. Fields and Double-A are also not expected to play, as of the latest chatter on Twitter, but please comment if this news changes before tip-off.
Tale of the Tape
Offensive Rating: Toronto 103.9 (11th), Indiana 97.3 (26th)
Defensive Rating: Indiana 99.5 (7th), Toronto 108.6 (27th)
Pace: Toronto 92.3 (19th), Indiana 90.3 (27th)
Strength: Toronto – turnovers (4th in TO%, 6th in Opponent TO%), Indiana – rebounding (5th in OReb%, 9th in DReb%)
Weakness: Toronto – fouling (30th in Oponnent FTA/FGA, 12th in FTA/FGA), Indiana – scoring (29th in eFG%)
Point Guard: Jose Calderon (starter) and John Lucas III vs. George Hill (starter) and D.J. Augustin
Slight Advantage: Pacers
Calderon played a great game last night, but I am not hopeful about how he’ll play a night after logging 50 minutes. Hopefully John Lucas broke his slump going three for six last night and hitting a huge three late, because he’ll be relied on to provide adequate back-up minutes. For the Pacers, Hill is seriously overpaid but has been scoring at a steady clip so far this season now that he’s “the guy.” Augustin has been terrible adjusting to his new squad, shooting just 18%. If Calderon can somehow look fresh, you might give the nod to the Raptors, but that seems unlikely.
Wings: DeMar DeRozan (starter), Dominic McGuire (starter), Terrence Ross and Linas Kleiza vs. Paul George (starter), Gerald Green, Sam Young and Lance Stephenson
With Danny Granger out, the Pacers have been struggling on the wings and have resorted to rotating the starter beside George. While none have stood out, George is a personal favorite who is oozing with potential and has already learned how to contribute in other ways when the shots aren’t dropping. DeRozan has been at his best of late, save for his shot selection late last night, but coming off of a 60-minute outing he could be tired/exhausted/zombified. Neither of the benches inspire much confidence, so we call it a wash.
Bigs: Andrea Bargnani (starter), Jonas Valanciunas (starter), Amir Johnson and Ed Davis vs. David West (starter), Roy Hibbert (starter), Tyler Hansbrough and Ian Mahinmi
West took it to Bargnani badly in the second half of the opener, and you can probably expect more of the same tonight. Hibbert has been struggling significantly to lead “his” team, but against Valanciunas he had his best game of the young season. Jonas has likely improved since then, but Hibbert really is “due” if you believe in such things. The Raptors have a bench advantage but it likely can’t negate the sizable advantage at the starting spots.
The Raptors will be tired and likely on a mental low, plus they’re undermanned to a pretty serious degree given the minutes load played by the key players last night. The Pacers haven’t been great, but at 3-4 and without Granger and Lowry are likely still a better team than the Raptors. I don’t want to write the game off as a casualty of the triple overtime game, because they could answer the bell and the Pacers could take the game lightly. As it is though, I see it as a let-down game. Prove me wrong, Raptors.
Prediction: Pacers by 11