Preview: Raptors at Pacers
The Indiana Pacers have just four losses in the last 35 days, but two of them came against the Toronto Raptors, their opponent Wednesday in Indianapolis. The Raptors secured a three-point win over the Pacers at home Dec. 19 and a 16-point victory in a rematch Jan. 6, but Indiana is 11-2 against all other teams in that span after a 120-95 triumph over Charlotte on Sunday.
“We just tried to prepare ourselves defensively, making sure it was tougher for them than it was in the last game,” guard Victor Oladipo told reporters, referencing an earlier 26-point loss to the Hornets. “Collectively, we did awesome.” Oladipo scored a team-high 21 points in the win while handing out seven of the Pacers’ 34 assists, one shy of the team’s season high. Toronto finished a 3-0 homestand with a 120-105 win over Sacramento on Tuesday. Star swingman Kawhi Leonard (rest) missed his third game in a row for the Raptors and he is not expected back until Friday at Houston.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TSN (Toronto), FS Indiana
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (36-13): Toronto is 11-2 without Leonard this season and it overcame his latest absence with a 16-for-40 showing from behind the arc, led by a 4-for-5 effort by CJ Miles, who is averaging 13.7 points in 16.7 minutes over his last three games. Kyle Lowry finished with 19 points and nine assists while Fred VanVleet matched him in the scoring column one game after shooting 1-for-8 from the floor as he manages the wear and tear of the long season. “At this point nobody’s 100 percent healthy,” VanVleet, who recently missed a game with a thigh issue, told reporters. “You’ve gotta be a professional, take care of your body, try to be the best version of yourself that day and go out there and lay it on the line. So, barring anything major, I’ll be out there scrapping and clawing and giving it what I’ve got.”
ABOUT THE PACERS (31-15): Darren Collison scored 19 points and handed out nine assists while Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 16 points in Sunday’s victory as Indiana reached the 120-point mark for the fourth time in its last seven games. “Me, Bojan, Vic, we were all being aggressive on the pick-and-roll,” Collison told the media. “When all three of us are aggressive, it’s tough to beat us.” Bogdanovic is averaging 19.5 points on 51.6 percent shooting to go along with seven rebounds against the Raptors this season.
1. Pacers SG Tyreke Evans is averaging 15.5 points in 18.7 minutes over his last six games.
2. The Raptors are 8-1 in the second game of back-to-backs.
3. Toronto has won five in a row against Indiana.