The Indiana Pacers are visiting the Toronto Raptors tonight in an eastern conference matchup that holds serious implications for Toronto, like all of the remaining games will. Toronto needs this game to keep trying to rise in the standings and Indiana may be without their best player in Tyrese Haliburton tonight so that makes things a bit easier for Toronto.
Indiana has an offensive rating of 113.7 this season and this is largely due to the offensive brilliance of Tyrese Haliburtion who is the engine of their offense and keeps them juiced with his playmaking wizardry and shifty scoring. Conversely, the Pacers have a defensive rating of 116.2 this season which is not so good. Defending Indiana without Tyrese Haliburton makes life a lot easier for Toronto because they don’t have another elite playmaker(obviously) and the creation on the team is nothing to lose sleep over. This isn’t to say they don’t have capable options such as Bennedict Mathurin who can get his own shot even as a rookie, TJ McConnell who is the definition of a solid point guard, and Buddy Hield who is an extremely deadly outside shooter. Toronto can’t afford to play down tonight with or without Tyrese Haliburton.
Offensively Toronto has looked much better recently, the addition of Jakob Poetl has worked wonders for screening actions, OG Anunoby is playing extremely well on offense even as a self creator, and Fred VanVleet has been the operator behind this train. All of this has led Toronto to have a 117.6 offensive rating in their last 10 games and this is with Siakam being in a slump for most of it so that just shows you how high level the others have been.
With Scottie Barnes questionable with a wrist injury we may see Gary Trent Jr, reenter the starting lineup and add some three point shooting juice to the lineup.
Defensively it should be straightforward on how to defend Indiana this game, they don’t have anyone who is an elite slasher so even if they find their way to the rim it should be easily cleaned up by Jakob, the real threat is to not let them get hot from outside like teams tend to do against Toronto. Indiana is shooting 36.5 percent from three as a team this season so this should be a priority to close out well and under control.
Toronto needs this win to move to 36-37 and perhaps to the 8th seed as well.
Tip-Off: 7:30 pm EDT | TV: SN1 | Radio: SN590
Tyrese Haliburton (knee) is questionable, Chris Duarte (ankle) is questionable.
PG: TJ, McConnell, George Hill
SG: Andrew Nembhard, Benedict Mathurin
SF: Buddy Hield, Jordan Nwora
PF: Aaron Nesmith, Oshae Brissett
C: Myles Turner, Jalen Smith, Isaiah Jackson
Otto Porter jr. (foot) is out. Scottie Barnes (wrist) is questionable.
PG: Fred VanVleet, Will Barton, Malachi Flynn
SG: Gary Trent Jr.
SF: O.G. Anunoby, Joe Wieskamp
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Precious Achiuwa, Thaddeus Young
C: Jakob Poeltl, Christian Koloko
Toronto is favored by a staggering 8.5 points. The over-under is 234.
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