Gameday: Raptors @ Pacers, November 22

The Raptors may have to join Indiana on the track to win this back-to-back.

Game one of this back-to-back didn’t go well. The second leg will not be any easier.

Like the Magic, Indiana has taken a leap so far in the early season. While Orlando has been labelled a defensive team, the Pacers look to run teams off the court. They’ve already topped the 150 point mark TWICE this season. For context, Toronto has never scored more than 144 points in a game.

Raptors scope (6-8, 11th in East | Offensive Rating: 25th | Defensive Rating: 12th)

The Raptors defensive rating has fallen out of the top 10 after a lifeless effort against what was supposed to be an anemic Magic offence last night. Orlando shot 50 percent from the field for the first time this season and took advantage of numerous breakdowns and miscommunications.

Orlando also took 25 more shots than the Raptors. The Magic had 15 offensive rebounds and forced 24 turnovers. When the Raptors weren’t turning it over, the offence was actually working.

Players to watch: Indiana starts three wings around Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner, none taller than 6’6. Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam should both have opportunities to dominate, especially Siakam on the block. Think the Mavs game where he posted up the likes of Derrick Jones Jr, Grant Williams and Luka Doncic at nauseam. The Pacers don’t really think defence. They gave up 155 points to Boston earlier this season.

Defensively, O.G. Anunoby will definitely be deployed in an attempt to slow down Haliburton.

Pacers scope (8-5, 6th in East | Offensive Rating: 1st | Defensive Rating: 29th)

Are the Pacers the most fun team in basketball?

Indiana is putting up historic numbers on offence. The Pacers score 128.1 points a game, over five more than any other team. I mentioned Orlando shot 50 percent from the field for the first time all season yesterday. Indiana averages that. The Pacers are also 4th in three point percentage. While their defence is almost non existent, they rank 2nd in blocks. Myles Turner is always amongst the league leaders in that category, but Isaiah Jackson is also averaging two per game in just 13.9 minutes. Jackson had four blocks against the Hawks yesterday.

Speaking of which, we need to talk about that crazy 157-152 game. No, there weren’t any overtimes. The Pacers trailed by as many as 20 but when you can score at will, who cares? Tyrese Haliburton had a 26 point third quarter, making seven threes and also had time to dish out 4 assists. Tyrese was feeling it so much that he started skipping down the court. Haliburton finished with 37 points and 16 assists. Tyrese is averaging 25/12 on 52/46/93 splits and has really cemented himself as an elite guard after making his first All-Star team last season. Looks like he wasn’t a “wanna-be fake All-Star,” Wally Szczerbiak.

Last but not least, you also have the Canadian factor in Ben Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard. They combine for 21 points per game.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 7:30pm EST | TV: TSN 1/3/4 | Radio: TSN Radio 1050

Raptors Lineup

Thaddeus Young (illness) hasn’t played in the last three games. Christian Koloko remains out. All three 2-way players are with the 905.

PG: Dennis Schroder, Malachi Flynn

SG: Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr, Gradey Dick

SF: O.G. Anunoby, Otto Porter Jr, Jalen McDaniels, Garrett Temple

PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher

C: Jakob Poeltl, Precious Achiuwa

Pacers Lineup

Andrew Nembhard (back) didn’t play in Tuesday’s shootout at Atlanta. He is listed as day-to-day.

PG: Tyrese Haliburton, T.J. McConnell

SG: Buddy Hield, Andrew Nembhard, Ben Sheppard

SF: Bruce Brown, Bennedict Mathurin, Jordan Nwora, Jarace Walker

PF: Aaron Nesmith, Obi Toppin, Isaiah Jackson

C: Myles Turner, Jalen Smith

The Line

Indiana is favoured by 3.5 points, Raptors moneyline is +136. Over/Under is 238.5. Considering the Pacers scored 157 last night, is that too low?