After losing in two head-to-head meetings, the Indiana Pacers continue their search for their first win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. The recent run-in between the two teams ended with the Raptors barely clinging to a 97-94 victory in Indy. We’ll see if they can maintain that success after covering as 3.5-point dogs in an upset win over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Pacers, on the other hand, failed to cover as 6.5-point favorites against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Raptors close out long road tripThis is the end of the road for the Raptors, literally.
You can rest assured they are excited to get back home with Friday’s matchup being their sixth straight game on the road. They’ve managed to go 2-3 in the trip so far with their recent victory coming over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
I wouldn’t bank on them shooting 52.8 percent from the floor, including 46.7 percent from 3-pointer, in back-to-back outings. For starters, they won’t have the luxury of playing against the worst defensive team in the league in this meeting. The Pacers clearly have their own defensive flaws, but they’ll be much more competitive than the Grizzlies on that end of the floor.
Granted, the flipside to that is there’s also no Ja Morant to have to defend.
Toronto has fallen on tough times defensively, and they’ll be facing a Pacers team averaging 46.5 percent shooting at home. No, Indiana might not have Morant, but Malcolm Brogdon is pretty good, too. And they also have Domantas Sabonis to keep feeding them boards down low.
Toronto’s leading scorer, OG Anunoby, is listed as questionable with a hip injury, while center Khem Birch has already been ruled out for the game.
Pacers get outpaced in overtimeAt least the allegedly unruly courtside fans that LeBron James got ousted from the game didn’t have to stay and watch the Pacers’ awful meltdown in overtime. They were held to only four points in the entire extra period and 40.4 percent shooting throughout the contest for a 124-116 loss on Wednesday.
We’ll see if Indy can turn it around against the road-weary Raptors on Friday night.
This is a game where Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner need to dominate in the frontcourt against Toronto’s smaller lineup. They have to feast on rebounds and finish with easy buckets in the paint. The cool kids called those shots “cookies” when I was growing up.
Indiana better hope both Sabonis and Turner comes into this game with a sweet tooth.
The defense for the Pacers is too up-and-down to trust in this matchup. We all saw what LeBron James and the Lakers just did to them. Granted, Toronto doesn’t have anywhere near the same level of star talent, but they do have a bunch of great young players. The Pacers need Malcolm Brogdon and their bigs to continue to lead the way on the floor.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Raptors have defeated the Pacers twice already this season, but the circumstances are a bit different this time. It’s tough getting up for a game at the end of a long road trip, and this will literally be the sixth straight game the Raptors have played away from home.
OG Anunoby likely won’t be on the floor for this game, and the Pacers should come in with a little more fire after their letdown performance in overtime against the Los Angeles Lakers. Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner are the bigger duo in the frontcourt, and they’ll be able to take advantage of it this time out.
Toronto is allowing an average of 55.1 percent shooting from two-point range when they’re the visiting team this season. The 3-point shooting will dry up for the Raptors on the road, and the Pacers will outwork them on the backs of their frontcourt and another exceptional effort from star guard Malcolm Brogdon.
I’m taking the Pacers to bounce back in style.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Raptors’ offense took flight in their recent outing against a Memphis Grizzlies defense that sits at the bottom of the heap in the league. So I wouldn’t take that previous performance as any clue to what they’ll be able to do on Friday against the Pacers. This will be a far more difficult defensive test at the end of a long, winding road trip. I’m expecting the Raptors to come out a bit flat in this meeting with it being their sixth straight game on the road. Neither team hit the century mark in points the last time they went head-to-head. Give me the under in this one.