Toronto Raptors (16-16) at Indiana Pacers (27-6)
Less than a week after meeting at the Air Canada Centre, the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors will face off again. This time it takes place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.
On New Year’s Day, it was all Toronto as the Raptors used a second-half spurt to pull away from Indiana for a 95-82 victory. There is no doubt that the Pacers have been anxiously awaiting another chance to play the Raptors after that loss.
During the January 1 game, it was DeMar DeRozan that stole the show. DeRozan finished with 26 points and nine rebounds while knocking down countless big shots in the second half. Kyle Lowry also padded the stat sheet en route to a double-double of 13 points and 14 assists for Toronto.
Meanwhile, Indiana’s Paul George struggled. He scored 12 points (5-14 FG) and grabbed eight boards but also committed six turnovers and five personal fouls. Roy Hibbert led the Pacers in scoring with 16 points, but also fouled out of the game. Simply put, the Indiana Pacers looked sluggish to start the New Year.
Expect a different outcome tonight, however. An arctic winter storm blasting through two-thirds of the United States has caused all kinds of travel problems. Thus is the case for Toronto; the Raptors had to wait out the flight delays to get from Miami to Indiana. In fact, the team arrived in Indianapolis only a couple hours ago.
That could play a role in tonight’s contest. Look for the Pacers to get off to a fast start and try to control a big lead. They have the loss to the Raptors six days ago in the back of their minds and will certainly be out for revenge.
Game film says stopping the 1-2 punch of Lowry and DeRozan is a big part of the game plan tonight for Indiana. Also part of the game plan will be feeding Hibbert and David West in the post as well as getting George his share of open shot opportunities.
The Indiana Pacers are well rested and the Toronto Raptors, quite frankly, are not. Pacers win 102-89 and move to 17-1 at home.