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Raptors-Pacers Series Preview: Raptors Republic Roundtable

The whole crew weighs in.

Over the last two days, we’ve tried to hit you from all angles with preview content for the Toronto Raptors’ first-round series against the Indiana Pacers.

As a reminder, here’s the schedule for the series:

series sked

Here’s the tale of the tape:

tale of tape

And here are the projected rotations to start:


And now, we give you most of the Raptors Republic staff, roundtable style, on Raptors-Pacers.

Before we get into the Pacers – and we’ll do a proper look back at our preseason Raptors expectations after the playoffs – just…wow. 56 wins, the second seed in the East, and…is that confidence heading into the postseason? Where is your confidence level now relative to the start of the season in terms of this team winning a series?

William Lou: Look at it this way: the Raptors have checked off all the boxes. They improved the defense, they diversified their offense, and everyone is healthy heading into the playoffs. Hell yeah I’m confident – they’ve earned our trust.

Eric Koreen: Before the season, I thought the odds of them advancing past the first round were about 50-50. In a first-round series against the Pacers, I think there is a 75 per cent chance, give or take, that they advance. So my confidence has increased by 50 per cent — NOT 25 PER CENT. #math

Michael Holian: You would have caught me saying the same thing last year but I believed in a second round appearance before the season started and that belief has only grown stronger since. So much so that my level of confidence has transformed into an expectation. The playoffs are a different animal, I get that, but if the regular season has taught us anything, the odds of this club’s supporting cast being a stabilizing force this time around are far greater. And the chances of suffering an overall defensive collapse can be viewed in the same light. At this point, the disappointment of previous years can only be beneficial. And I’m willing to bet we’ll all get to cash in on those training wheels.

Zarar Siddiqi: This confidence situation works better for the Pacers, because they can do the whole “wipe the slate clean” speech and from their view, see the Raptors as playoff chokers. I generally don’t think end-of-season momentum carries into the post-season because of how pointless the games are, and the fact that teams approach the games entirely differently in a playoff series than a one-off game. What the Raptors can take from the regular season is that they’ve won some big games against good opponents, and know that if they play up to potential, they can beat people. This wasn’t necessarily there last season. It’s not so much about confidence as much as knowing that there’s a path to success if they execute. My confidence level is still the same as training camp, but my expectations are higher given that we’re a second seed. To the Conference Finals or bust.

Matt Shantz: Perhaps it is delusion, but my confidence is a 10/10 at the moment. A record season in regards to wins, the second seed in the East (with a big buffer from third), plenty of rest for team’s top players, a health(ish) DeMarre Carroll returning, Norman Powell proving to be the GOAT, and a first round match-up against a team Toronto dominated sans Kyle, DeMarre, and DeMar just one week ago. Toronto is clearly the second best team in the conference, and is a threat to do some damage.

Tim Chisholm: I am very confident that the Raptors will (finally) win their second playoff series this year. They’ve shown a resilience this year that has been atypical for this franchise historically and this iteration of the franchise, in particular. Plus, they just throttled the Pacers without Lowry and DeRozan. I know people are gun shy after what happened with Washington, but this is not last year’s team.

Gavin MacPhersonI had measured expectations to start the season but by January I was very confident in the Raptors ability to take any potential first round opponent and that hasn’t waivered much, especially once the Bulls were eliminated. In November I had their chances around 70-30 in favour of winning a first round series, now I’m at about 95-5 in favour.

Tamberlyn Richardson: My confidence is super high. When I compare how the 2015-16 team enters the playoffs versus last season’s squad I feel my optimism is warranted. Specifically, this Raptors team is healthier, more versatile and has greater depth. Moreover, Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas have shown significant growth with both players exuding a burgeoning confidence at precisely the right time. I’m most impressed with the defensive improvements that in complete contrast to last season have been trending upward. In April, the Raptors ranked 2nd in opponent field goal percent (41.8%), 4th in opponent points per game (95.4), improved to 10th in perimeter defense and rank 8th defensively. Adding to my enthusiasm is the return of DeMarre Carroll. Not to jump ahead, but I’ve ranted about wanting Indiana since December as I feel they offer the perfect fodder to get the proverbial monkey off our backs.

Shyam Baskaran: 56 wins is simply incredible. I remember a buddy and I joking back in November that we’ve got a shot at 60 wins this year, and it seemed absolutely ludicrous at the time. With the way the season started, the west coast road trip early in the year that scared so many fans (the Utah, GSW and SAC losses), the criticism of Casey, and the injuries to Carroll and JV, it’s pretty remarkable. We’ve got the second seed, a much better regular season record, the defense has been better, we’ve had to face more adversity during the year, and we’ve shown an ability to win on the road. Because of all that and more, I think we’ve got a better shot at a first-round series now, than I would’ve thought in training camp. Having said that, talk to me after game 1.

Blake Murphy: They beat my expectation by double-digit wins. That’s insane. I don’t even feel bad about it – I didn’t think the Raptors would figure out their new defense nearly as quickly as they did, I think it was entirely reasonable to be concerned with the wing and center depth, and nearly to a man, everyone on the roster improved. Before the season, I was clear I didn’t think they’d have a huge regular season but that they’d be in a much better position to win in the playoffs based on two-way play, flexibility, and so on. Then they had a huge regular season. So how could I not remain eminently confident in them winning a playoff series?

biyombo hill

The Raptors will draw the Pacers. That’s obviously better than the Bulls, but would you have preferred the Pistons? Why or why not?

Blake Murphy: I think the Pacers are better than the Pistons overall, but this is a nicer matchup for the Raptors. They’re a team I targeted most of the second half when asked, and it’s no disrespect to Indiana, but the Raptors just line up well. The Pacers’ offense thrives off of scoring off turnovers, and the Raptors protect the ball incredibly well. The Pacers can go big or small, but the Raptors can do either just as well or better. And assuming even 75 percent of DeMarre Carroll, the Raptors have one of the best pieces of Paul George insurance around. The Raptors also prefer to dare teams to beat them from the mid-range, and the Pacers are more willing than almost anyone to oblige.

Shyam Baskaran: Definitely. The Pistons, while talented and on the rise, don’t have the playoff pedigree and experience of this Pacers team that made the conference finals just 2 years ago under Frank Vogel. I think it was Jack Armstrong who made the point on the broadcast a few games ago – the Pistons would’ve been a more exciting first-round matchup for other reasons. The proximity to Toronto would’ve obviously beefed up the rivalry in the series, and I’m 100% sure the Palace would’ve been filled with Raptors fans. That would’ve just been cool to see – but Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond are still a handful. I don’t mind Indiana at all given the way they’ve been playing, but Detroit in my mind was the more favourable matchup of the 2. Not to mention, drawing the Pistons means the Pacers would’ve matched up against the Cavs. Indiana would’ve likely put up a tougher fight against the Cavs than the Pistons will (which is obviously better for the Raps if they have conference finals aspirations).

Tamberlyn Richardson: I know there were those clamoring for a young inexperienced Pistons squad. However let me remind them of the Stan Van Gundy coached Orlando Magic who took the Raptors out in the first round. The Pistons have more weapons in my opinion. I expect the Cavaliers to move on, but SVG will drive them insane with copious ‘pick and roll’ sets which are Cleveland’s Achilles heel. For as many questions regarding where the Raptors offense will come from outside of Lowry and DeRozan I would counter that outside of Paul George the Pacers don’t offer a ton of offense. Monta Ellis could have a game, but his weakness on defense will offset the gains. Ditto for C.J. Miles and Myles Turner is a rookie. Suffice to say, I love this match-up.

Gavin MacPherson: The Pistons playing Tobias Harris or Marcus Morris at power forward and Reggie Jackson going into a series with a chip on his shoulder scare me more than anything the Pacers can throw at them. The Raptors defense is solid on the interior and only really struggles when it’s stretched out and the Pacers don’t have the personnel to do that consistently. This is probably the best possible 1st round matchup for them.

Tim Chisholm: No, the Pistons would worry me more than the Pacers, oddly. The Pistons are a team on the ascent, while the Pacers are a team on a descent. The Pacers are also a far more cobbled together squad, whereas there is logic and coherence to what the Pistons are building. I know that the Pacers are “better”, but the Pistons would have worried me more in a seven-game series.

Matt Shantz: I would wish the Bulls to rest in peace, but I hold grudges and am thrilled to see them outside of the playoff picture. As for our opponent, I was hoping all along for it to be the Pacers. Although Jonas has always excelled when playing against Drummond, I think the Pistons are athletic enough to cause Toronto some problems. Marcus Morris also showed earlier this year he can be the type of defender that bothers DeMar. Outside of Paul George, I’m not particularly worried about anyone on Indiana. Zarar Siddiqi: No, I think Reggie Jackson can destroy Kyle Lowry on his day, and that we don’t have good answers for Marcus Morris and Tobias Horris in the same lineup.  There would be a clear coaching edge to Detroit, and as much as I think JV could handle Drummond, I don’t want to test that theory.

Michael Holian: To be honest, I actually wanted the Bulls! Facing a team they have a weak track record against right off the bat can go a long way in achieving a deep postseason run. But of course, I don’t mind an “inferior” opponent. And when it comes to which team I preferred, my rooting interest was squarely invested in the Pacers. It’s safe to assume that faith in Toronto’s guard play wouldn’t waver in either matchup, but the same can’t be said about the frontcourt. Whether it’s making a difference on the boards, making life easier for ball-handlers by becoming a scoring threat down low, or the ability to leave one’s defender to help out elsewhere, Indiana can be exploited in multiple areas.

Eric Koreen: George is obviously scary, and the Pacers’ depth is a little worrisome. However, the Raptors should be able to leverage Jonas Valanciunas more effectively in this series (although, shout out to Ian Mahinmi) than against the Pistons. Frank Vogel and Stan Van Gundy are both really good coaches, so it is a wash there. Basically, I did not care who the Raptors played between those two teams.

William Lou: Nah, the Pacers are the ideal opponent. They’re limping into the playoffs with a fractured psyche (check this column by their local beat writer), and it’ll be much easier to focus on stopping just Paul George as opposed to a Jackson-Drummond-Harris combination that occasionally puts it all together to extraordinary effect. There’s also this: George has averaged just 16 PPG on 31 FG% against the Raptors this season.

carroll george

A big swing factor in this series will be how effective DeMarre Carroll can be opposite Paul George. What are you expecting from the returning Carroll?

William Lou: I expect Carroll to be the backup power forward, and to draw George if DeRozan/Powell can’t handle him. Carroll has lacked explosiveness coming off a knee injury (which is to be expected), but he can still bang with fours, he still stretches the floor, and he’s a lot better than Luis Scola.

Tim Chisholm: I am expecting him to make life very difficult for George. Look, George is going to explode in at least one game this series, he’s too good to not, but Carroll is going to be able to focus all his energies this series in harassing him into uncomfortable spots and contested shots. This is why the Raptors paid Carroll so much money this summer, for match ups like this, and I think he’ll justify that decision pretty quickly.

Gavin MacPherson: I’m hoping that we actually see Carroll playing as a stretch four more than anything but part of that is undoubtedly my desire to never see Scola play again. I’m expecting Carroll to play around 25 minutes per game and spend around half of that guarding Paul George. He’s understandably seemed a step slow since coming back so I really hope they’re not expecting him to guard George full time, they have plenty of bodies for that already. I’m very confident that Powell and DeRozan will be able to slow George down enough to win the series.

Blake Murphy: I covered his potential impact in detail here. Even if you’re expecting 25 minutes of 75 percent of Carroll in this series, he opens up a ton of options for the Raptors at both ends of the floor. I think there’s a good argument to be made to start Carroll – apologies to Norman Powell – to ensure his minutes are maximized opposite George, although Carroll as a smaller four off the bench could be good, too (especially if Patrick Patterson starts, which we should probably stop hoping for at this point). Anyway, Carroll looked really solid in his final outing, and I’m not expecting the world, but I’m expecting an impact.

Tamberlyn Richardson: Even if Carroll plays 15 to 20 minutes it’s an advantage. There are the obvious benefits: great defender, solid rebounder, spaces the floor, plus he brings energy and hustle. Yet arguably his two best qualities are his playoff experience (went to Eastern Conference Finals last year), and the versatility he offers in small ball line-ups. A perfect example was the Philly game when the Raptors were trailing by 8 points. Casey moved him to PF, in a line-up featuring Lowry, Powell, DeRozan with a mixture of Biyombo and JV. Granted it was the Sixers, but that unit erased the lead in less than 8 minutes and by quarter’s end were leading by 13 points. And, this without Patrick Patterson or Cory Joseph who provide even greater defensive versatility. Notably Paul George hasn’t exactly lit the Raptors up averaging 16.4 ppg, well below his 23.1 season average. George will be tasked to carry a heavy load for the Pacers. Though I believe Carroll will nab the primary assignment guarding PG, I think the true advantage Toronto has is the variety of players Toronto can put on him. James Johnson did a capable job guarding George in one game this year. Casey can also put Ross, DeRozan or Powell on him. The sheer number of players Casey can use to wear him down will take a toll.

Shyam Baskaran: Just based on these last few games, what’s been clear is his willingness to be on the floor at all costs. The guy isn’t 100%, but despite his minute restrictions, he’s still showing tenacity on the defensive end, his aggressiveness is there, and he’s still hitting 3’s with almost no signs of rust. The sheer fact that Paul George needs an elite defender to guard him, will mean the Raps will rely more on Carroll’s defense, and hence gives more of an opportunity for him to put his footprint on the series. I’m not expecting any more than 10 points a game from DeMarre, but I’m expecting a bulldog (not a poodle) on defense.

Zarar Siddiqi: I expect him to be a factor in the passing lanes, which he generally is.  He’s not correctly categorized as a defender in my view, as he’s less of a shutdown one-on-one defender like Jae Crowder, and more of a team defender. I expect him to have a strong defensive impact (that could still mean that George has a big game), and shoot 25% from three because he’s been suspect all season from there.  Can’t expect a guy to find his shooting rhythm after that long of a layoff, and I pray to God we don’t give him a bigger offensive role at any point like he was promised.

Matt Shantz: Started at 14 minutes, followed it by 17, and topped out at 21 minutes against Philadelphia to end his regular season. My hope is Carroll will be able to continue this trend and see 25 minutes in Game 1, while building to around 30 towards the end of the first round. The good news is that the emergence of Norman Powell will hopefully allow the Raptors the flexibility to bring Carroll along slowly. With that said though, it is very nice to know that the Raptors should at least get 20-25 minutes a night from their top wing defender.

Michael Holian: Even in limited minutes, I expect his impact to be substantial. The amount of possessions that will begin and end with Paul George promises to be endless, so whether it’s 25, 20, or even 15 minutes of action, the priority should be to maximize Carroll’s involvement on defense. On the offensive end, Indiana’s lack of intimidation up front will allow DMC to periodically roam the 4-spot — which will promote plenty of ball movement across the board. Carroll’s level of participation should grow as the series moves along, and with the hidden beauty of no back-to-back games, he might just have his biggest impact when the team needs it most.

Eric Koreen: 20-25 minutes of effective perimeter defence, some key three-pointers and some awkward attempts to do too much with the ball. The Raptors should start him to match up with George, although I don’t think that will happen in Game 1.

powell pacers

Norman Powell. No question, just react to that. And do you think he’ll be a factor in this series?

Eric Koreen: Normcore is a movement. Lamentably, I think Carroll’s return and importance, given George’s presence, will limit Powell’s opportunities.

Matt Shantz: I’m not one to swear often, but my reaction is a glorious mixture of celebratory curses. I love Norman Powell. He is an unforeseen benefit to DeMarre being hurt, and his D-League minutes have allowed him to find success in his current run with the big club. His three point shooting has been the biggest surprise, and this development opens up plenty of opportunity in the playoffs. He allows Carroll to come along slowly, and even for a small-ball lineup of Kyle, DeMar, Norm, DeMarre, and Jonas. Just writing this makes me smile. He will have an impact.

Shyam Baskaran: The dude can flat out ball. He’s unphased by NBA basketball and seems to have figured things out earlier than most rookies, let alone second round draft picks. His impact will depends on a few things, There’s still a chance, god forbid, that DeMarre’s knee isn’t okay and if isn’t, James Johnson and Powell will likely get an even split of the minutes at the 3. Secondly, if by “factor”, we mean scoring 15+ points a game or playing 25+ minutes, I’d say not likely. He’s still a rook, and with Carroll and Johnson both being able to match up against Paul George’s size, I can’t see Powell lighting it up in a game. But things can, and likely will, change.

Tim Chisholm: I think he’s earned the right to log minutes in this series, which unto itself is a massive achievement for a second round pick that barely logged any minutes in the first half of the season. What his role will be remains to be seen, but he’ll be given every opportunity to make an impact and earn minutes.

William Lou: Yes. Powell matches up well with Monta Ellis, who is the Pacers’ No. 2 option. So long as Powell goes under screens, his length (7-foot wingspan) and quickness makes him an ideal defender to check an undersized slasher like Ellis. Powell has also proven to be a strong option in transition and is red-hot from deep on catch-and-shoot 3s.

Zarar Siddiqi: Draft an intelligent senior with ups who isn’t short of confidence, and you’ve done well in the second round, regardless of whether he pans out or not.

Tamberlyn Richardson: I don’t think it’s possible to express (at least without profanity) how much I love Norman Powell’s game. Although rookies tend to get overwhelmed in the playoffs, there is just something about Powell’s demeanor that has me believing he’ll take a shorter period to adapt. Assuming Casey starts Carroll, I think that will help since Powell tends to play with a chip on his shoulder. Instead of being tense starting the game he’ll be chomping at the bit to enter it. Perhaps my expectations are unrealistic, however I think Powell will be an x factor throughout the post season.

Blake Murphy: Since Day One. To go from college bench player to starter to starring role, then play your way from the fringe of the draft into the second round, then play your way from a potential stash for a year to a three-year deal, then play your way from bench-tethered rookie to rotation player, then from rotation player to a position where you might start playoff games because you’ve been too damn good over the last six weeks…Powell’s ascension has been incredible. It’s been a ton of fun. He’s still probably got a really short leash in the playoffs, though, which is justified with Carroll’s return.

Gavin MacPherson: My hero. He’ll be a factor if Casey doesn’t do the whole “stick with the veterans” thing that old-school coaches like him seem to do. The way he pushes the ball up the floor may be really important given how stingy the Pacers halfcourt defense is so he had better log a lot of minutes.

Michael Holian: POWELL TO THE PEOPLE! … KNOWLEDGE IS POWELL! … THE BALANCE OF POWELL HAS SHIFTED! … Ok, that could go on forever. He really has become the chosen one, though, as there’s no other Raptor with his future capability to be beloved by this fan base at a Kyle Lowry level.  If anything can help ease the strain about to be put on DeMarre Carroll, Powell’s defensive intensity is a solid backup plan. But then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if this kid gets the starting nod in Game 1 and earns crunch time minutes the same way he did in the regular season. His offensive opportunities might be limited but you don’t have to stuff the stat sheet to make noise.

patterson george

What do you see as the Raptors’ biggest strength in this series? Their biggest weakness?

Michael Holian: Perimeter defense will rear its ugly head at some point. Whether it’s George Hill, Monta Ellis, or the aforementioned Paul George, the Pacers are highly capable of erasing double-digit leads at a moment’s notice — particularly from long range. Casey shouldn’t hesitate to go small whenever such an attack is imminent. It will take away from their presence in the paint, which is the their biggest strength in this matchup, but capitalizing on that advantage early on can help make sure the Raps don’t neglect the perimeter late in the game. It doesn’t hurt that the last two games between these clubs, where Bismack Biyombo going berserk on the boards was followed up by a B-Team beatdown, are fresh in Indiana’s mind, either. Mental advantage: Raps.

Tamberlyn Richardson: Strength: the Raptors depth. They say one of the major factors in a series is how you match-up and the adjustments you make. This was the reason I was so high on Toronto drawing the Pacers. While Indy is a solid defensive team they simply don’t have the versatility Toronto has by position or on either end of the court. Weakness: Ghosts of the past. Again, not to beat a dead horse, but this was why I wanted the Pacers. Indy will push Toronto, but don’t have the fire power or depth to wear them down. Once the Raptors finally break through I think it will only serve to strengthen their resolve for what will be a tough second round series.

William Lou: Oddly enough, the frontcourt is the Raptors’ biggest strength. The Pacers’ best big is a rookie. Jonas Valanciunas should be able to match-up just fine (there’s no quick floor spacer), and he should dominate down low. If that’s not working, sub in Biyombo who bodied Jordan Hill to the tune of 25 rebounds in March. There’s no weakness.

Zarar Siddiqi: Biggest strengths are DeMar DeRozan’s ability to get to the line, get people in foul trouble, and JV’s potential to dominate the interior with his bulk and strength. Biggest weakness would be our perimeter defense.  Monta Ellis and Paul George have the potential to explode, and none of Terrence Ross, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Norman Powell, or Cory Joseph scares them.  They’re proven scorers in this league, and though Ellis has been inefficient this season, the vacuum of a seven-game series offers a chance at redemption.

Gavin MacPherson: The biggest strength is their interior defense. The Pacers don’t have a lot of shooting so guarding the rim without fouling is going to be really important and the Raptors core big men are pretty good at that. Their biggest weakness will be decision making on offense – the Pacers will try to force midrange shots and in the past Lowry and DeRozan have been happy to comply.

Matt Shantz: It’s shocking to think, but Toronto brings a lot of roster versatility to the playoffs. With the ability to play big or small, faster or slower, offensive or defensive, Toronto has a variety of ways to punish their opponent. I think this is part of the reason that the Raptors have succeeded in forcing their style in games this year. If the Pacers throw Paul George at PF, the Raptors can show him size with Patrick Patterson, or throw a wing like Carroll against him in a smaller unit.

Tim Chisholm: The biggest strength is the fact that they are a far superior team. The Raptors have never gone into a series with such an abundant talent advantage before. Of course, that can also backfire, as this squad has occasionally fallen victim to underestimating opponents. However, after what happened last season, I imagine they’ll be locked-in enough to overcome this tendency.

Blake Murphy: Other than just being better, I think versatility is their biggest strength. You draw the game out on paper and begin looking at some of the chess moves Vogel could make, and the Raptors have a counter for most of them, whether it be stylistically or in terms of lineups. That requires Casey to be flexible and adjust, a weakness in the last two postseasons, but he’s been much better for that this year. Their biggest weakness all season has been chasing opponents off the 3-point line, and Indiana thrives on easy transition offense after forcing turnovers. The Raptors protect the ball well, but if the Pacers can get into their jerseys, the Raptors will really have to sharpen up their perimeter defense in transition and semi-transition.

Shyam Baskaran: The biggest strength is by far our backcourt. The Pacers will start Monta Ellis and George Hill, neither of whom have the ability to take over a game, let alone play a significant factor in a playoff series. The Raptors have two clear-cut all-stars who have 2 years of consecutive playoff experiences and are primed to make an impact in the first round. I don’t know if we really have a weakness in the series per se. The only one I can point to (relative to the Pacers anyway) is our defense. The Pacers are ranked third in defensive efficiency (we’re 11th), meaning in a grind-it-out type of atmosphere and with a slower pace (to be expected in the playoffs), the Pacers could have the edge.

Eric Koreen: If the Raptors remain vigilant, I don’t see any way the Pacers consistently slow down Valanciunas without using a double team. Likewise, the Raptors should have a significant edge on the glass. However, the Pacers have enough versatile, physical defenders that getting DeRozan and Lowry to their sweet spots could be tough. Imagining George on DeRozan is a bit of a nightmare, although at least in ensures that George will have to work on that end.

ross pacers

Call it.

Eric Koreen: ‘Topes in 6.

Michael Holian: Raps in seven. While I’m confident and expect this year to be different, I also have faith that it’ll be a bumpy ride getting there.

William Lou: Raptors in 5. They drop Game 3 in Indiana.

Matt Shantz: I already said that my confidence level is currently at a 10, so I can’t back down now. I think Indiana steals a game, but Toronto runs away with a rather easy 5 game series. I’ll call a gentleman’s sweep coming. Raptors win games 1-3, Indiana steals game 4 at home, and Toronto closes it out on their own court in Game 5. After all, Canada is a polite nation and the Raptors are gentleman.

Shyam Baskaran: I’ll take the Raptors, but tough to say in how many games. If we take game 1, it’ll be over in 5 I think. If not, 6.

Tim Chisholm: Raptors in five.

Tamberlyn Richardson: Hey, I ranted about wanting Indiana for months, so I’m not changing direction now. I think the Raptors will take this in 5 games, 6 tops.

Zarar Siddiqi: Raptors in 7.  The Pacers will take games off of us, and you should fully expect the “Vogel outcoached Casey” storyline to be present in a couple games.  The Raptors are a talented bunch who have played close to the best they could, the Pacers are a talented bunch that haven’t.  In a seven-game series, I expect them to find their way but for the Raptors to prevail at home.

Gavin MacPherson: Raptors in 4.

Blake Murphy: Raptors in 5. If they don’t finally win a playoff series in this one, I won’t shave until they do.