Rarely are 3-3 teams with no real designs on deep playoff success so exciting. A game-winning tip-away is about as exciting a finish to a game as could reasonably be asked for considering the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic have never been known for exciting contests. As a result, Toronto’s riding high after a two-game winning streak, but there’s reason to believe this team is legitimately good.
Let’s look at some indicators. Toronto is a .500 team with what has been one of the worst halfcourt offense recorded in the tracking era. And I don’t mean that subjectively; their 0.85 points per play would be the worst in any other season since 2015-16, when the Philadelphia 76ers went 9-73 and were led in minutes by Ish Smith. Yet these Raptors are 3-3, with fairly impressive wins, and a legitimately impressive net rating of plus-3.3. Toronto’s rookie is looking like one of their best players, and he’s growing every game. They have a top-10 defense.
Oh yeah, and the Raptors are without their best player, Pascal Siakam, who is on his way back soon. Siakam is already practicing with the team, had a conditioning shift with the Raptors 905, and will travel with the team on the trip that starts today and will end Wednesday November 3rd. The point is that Siakam may return very soon. Though Siakam not playing definitely shifts the odds in favor of the Paces, you can use this bonus code to bet with with bet365 and take the points being offered.
So what can we expect from the Raptors? Likely, their wins will be exciting, with tons of steals, transition play, and highlight dunks. Their losses will be slogs, with struggles in the halfcourt. Those will remain true. But with Scottie Barnes and Dalano Banton both looking like legitimately valuable rotation pieces in just their rookie years, there will be plenty about which to be excited no matter what. Everything else is cherries on top. That is, until Siakam returns. Then this team is going to let it rip.
Toronto will take their two-game winning streak, their exciting style, their legitimately good basketball on the road to Indiana tonight for the second half of a back to back, which will also be their second against Indiana just this week. The Pacers are 1-5 and will be without Malcolm Brogdon, who was Indiana’s most important and best player in the first contest between the two teams. They’ll be up against it.
Good teams beat bad teams most times they play each other. Not to say the Pacers are a bad team, but … if the Raptors are a good team — which they look to be! — they should beat them again. Even on the second night of a back to back. Even in Indiana. This is probably the best test the Raptors will face this season. If they have eyes on the playoffs, they can’t let this one slip.
Tip-off: 7:30pm EDT | TV: Sportsnet | Radio: TSN 1050.
Yuta Watanabe (calf) is definitely out, as he apparently had a flare-up of his calf after practice. It’s not as certain that Pascal Siakam (shoulder) is out, though let’s call it that for now. Keep checking back here, as I’ll update the space with any changes in his status.
PG: Fred VanVleet, Dalano Banton, Goran Dragic, Malachi Flynn
SG: Gary Trent Jr, Svi Mykhailiuk, David Johnson
SF: Scottie Barnes, Isaac Bonga, Sam Dekker, Justin Champagnie
PF: OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher
C: Precious Achiuwa, Khem Birch
Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring), Isaiah Jackson (knee), Kelan Martin (hamstring), and TJ Warren (foot) are out. Caris LeVert (back) is day-to-day.
PG: T.J. McConnell, Brad Wanamaker, Duane Washington Jr.
SG: Chris Duarte, Jeremy Lamb
SF: Justin Holiday, Torrey Craig, DeJon Jarreau
PF: Domantas Sabonis, Oshae Brissett
C: Myles Turner, Goga Bitadze