Game Preview: Pacers at Raptors

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Match

The Pacers (25-49) head north of the border for the final time this season, wrapping up a two-game road trip to Toronto against the Raptors (41-32).

Indiana is coming off a 133-103 loss Thursday night at Memphis. The shorthanded Pacers had just nine players available against the Grizzlies, including four who started the year in the G League.

With the Pacers out of the playoff draw, the Raptors are battling to secure a playoff spot. Toronto is currently tied with Cleveland for sixth place in the Eastern Conference, although the Cavaliers hold the tiebreaker. It’s an important race, because the top six teams at the end of the regular season automatically advance to the playoffs and avoid having to enter the Play-In tournament.

The Raptors are led by first-time All-Star Fred VanVleet, who is averaging 20.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game. Former All-Star Pascal Siakam is Toronto’s leading scorer with 22.2 points per game and has played his best basketball in the past month. The 6-8 forward is averaging 26.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists.

While VanVleet and Siakam are Toronto’s veterans, rookie Scottie Barnes helped the Raptors get back into the playoff conversation after failing to make the playoffs in 2020-21. Barnes is a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year. The fourth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft ranks fourth among all rookies in scoring (15.3 ppg), third in rebounding (7.6) and fourth in assists (3.4) .

Projected starters

Pacers: PG – Tyrese Haliburton, SG – Malcolm Brogdon, SF – Buddy Hield, PF – Oshae Brissett, C – Goga Bitadze
Raptors: PG – Fred VanVleet, SG – OG Anunoby, SF – Scottie Barnes, PF – Pascal Siakam, C – Drew Eubanks

injury report

Pacers: Goga Bitadze – questionable (sore right foot), Jalen Smith – questionable (illness), Duane Washington Jr. – questionable (bruised right hip), Chris Duarte – out (sore left toe), Isaiah Jackson – out (headache), TJ McConnell – out (right wrist ligament surgery), Ricky Rubio – out (torn left ACL), Myles Turner – out (left foot stress reaction), TJ Warren – out (left navicular fracture)

Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. – questionable (hyperextended left big toe), Isaac Bonga – out (G League assignment), Malachi Flynn – out (extended left hamstring)

Last meeting

November 26, 2021: Three Pacers recorded double-doubles and seven finished in double figures at Blue & Gold for a 114-97 win over Toronto at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

“It’s the best way to play,” Myles Turner said of the balanced effort. “It’s fun for everyone that way.”

Domantas Sabonis led Indiana with 23 points and 18 rebounds. Turner added 17 points and 10 boards, while Malcolm Brogdon had 11 points and 12 assists.

Caris LeVert (19 points), Kelan Martin (15), Chris Duarte (12) and Torrey Craig (11) also hit double figures.

Fred VanVleet had 26 points, five rebounds and four assists for Toronto. Pascal Siakam added 17 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.

Remarkable

  • With a victory on Saturday, the Pacers would share the season series with Toronto. The Raptors won the first two meetings on October 27 and 30 before Indiana won on November 26.
  • Goga Bitadze has scored in double figures in seven straight games, averaging 16.3 points and 6.6 rebounds during that span.
  • Former Pacer Thaddeus Young (2016-19) was acquired by Toronto in a trade with San Antonio on Feb. 10.

Tickets

After a two-game road trip, the Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, March 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Find Tickets »

TV & Radio Listings Broadcast Information »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play by play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (game by game), Pat Boylan (studio host)


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