Indiana Pacers vs Toronto Raptors: Predictions and Odds

The Indiana Pacers

Head Coach: Nate McMillan {All-Time 588-536} The Indiana Pacers are currently sitting third in the Eastern Conference and certainly have their eyes set on first in the East. Just two games behind the Toronto Raptors, a win against them would bring them one game closer to first and give them a useful game in hand come tiebreakers. Don’t look now but the Indiana Pacers are on a seven game win streak and now have their all-star Victor Oladipo back in the mix. While they will first be visiting the Cleveland Cavaliers before the Raptors, two Pacers wins will vault them into first place. After defeating the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana is surely ready to test their mettle against the best of the East in the Toronto Raptors. It is important to note that the Pacers are healthy for the first time this season and will likely have a full complement in Toronto.

The Toronto Raptors

Head Coach: Nick Nurse {All-Time 23-9} The Toronto Raptors still sit at first in the Eastern Conference, however after going 2-4 in their last six matches the Toronto Raptors will want to gain some ground on the Sixers and Pacers who are just a few games behind them in the standings. The Toronto Raptors recently went 2-2 on their West Coast road trip. After putting in incredibly matches against the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, the Raptors underperformed against the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets. Yes, the Toronto Raptors have a number of injuries to the point that only ten men were available in Denver. Regardless a test of the Raptors depth will be the start of Nick Nurse’s evaluation of which players can be trusted under pressure in high-intensity situations.

What’s At Stake?

The Indiana Pacers lead the all-time series with the Toronto Raptors 47-38. They have met once in the playoffs where the Toronto Raptors defeated the Indiana Pacers 4-3. If the Raptors win this game they would be rewarded some breathing room over Philadelphia and Indiana in the Eastern Conference. If the Indiana Pacers win this match, on top of the Cavaliers match before this one, the Pacers will gain first in the East for the first time since 2013-2014.

Questions to answer

Can the Pacers defence stop the Raptors? Who will suit up for Toronto? We are going to compare the two teams in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Pacers Defence is Top-Tier

Currently the Indiana Pacers rank second in the NBA in defensive rating (DEF RTG), only behind the Oklahoma City Thunder. To dive into it more the Pacers allow very little in the paint, averaging an impressive 41.8 points allowed in the paint. The Toronto Raptors seem a good matchup for the Indiana Pacers. The Raptors are a ball-moving team but they like to attack the rim and sometimes crowd their offensive space with mid-range playmaking. The Raptors have also struggled shooting this season so there’s a good chance the Pacers will let the Raptors attempt to beat them from three before chasing them off the line. If there’s one place the Pacers struggle it’s fast break points allowed. Ranking 22nd in the league at 14.6 break points allowed, teams can run against the Pacers. The Pacers will have to get back quick as the Raptors are loaded with athletic playmakers who can get on the boards and push it up court all on their own.

The Raptors Lineup is Scarce

In the Toronto Raptors most recent loss to the Denver Nuggets, they were only able to dress ten men. Of those ten men, one of them was two-way player Chris Boucher who despite his G-League MVP worthy season, is not yet a dependable source of production. If there was any indicator of how thin their lineup is at the moment, former G-League MVP Lorenzo Brown was sent to speak with the referees as captain in the match against the Nuggets. The Raptors are deep, but not deep enough to sustain five rotation pieces out of the lineup for an extended period of time. Should Lowry or Siakam be able to come back the Raptors would be able to attack the Pacers where they are weakest, on the break. Showing flashes of the Greek Freak, Siakam is a player that can beat the Pacers all on his own from one end of the court to the other. The Raptors have their fingers crossed that not playing since Sunday and playing the Pacers on a back-to-back will be to their advantage.

Indiana Pacers Roster Notes

The Indiana Pacers have no roster changes at the moment.

Toronto Raptors Roster Notes

G Fred Vanvleet (back) did not play on Sunday against the Nuggets and is a game-time decision against the Pacers. F Pascal Siakam (back) did not play on Sunday against the Nuggets and is a game-time decision against the Pacers. G Kyle Lowry (thigh) did not play on Sunday against the Nuggets and is a game-time decision against the Pacers. C Jonas Valanciunas underwent surgery on a dislocated thumb and will be out for at least four weeks. G-F Norman Powell is recovering from a shoulder injury and will be reevaluated in Toronto after their four-game road trip. F-C Chris Boucher, who is on a two-way contract, is likely to remain with the senior team to shore up the Raptors’ front court depth with Valanciunas out.

Is this all of Myles Turner?

Not more than two years ago the Indiana Pacers and the NBA as a whole were clamouring over the idea that Myles Turner was the next big thing for the NBA. While he has not been unproductive, it seems that Turner has plateaued to a degree while the addition of Oladipo has taken the offence out of his hands. Currently averaging 12.7 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game, and 2.7 blocks per game, Turner is still an incredibly serviceable centre. He is also shooting a passable 35% from three, good enough to be a reliable pick and pop option. More importantly, Turner has not forsaken his defensive duties and is currently averaging a career high in blocks per game. Against the Raptors, Turner will have a tough outing as Serge Ibaka is athletic and fluid while Greg Monroe is a power player in the post. His slight frame will always be something for him to overcome on the boards, but look for Turner to challenge the Raptors centres on the offensive end in order to take them out of the game.

Serge Ibaka is a Team Player

In seasons past, Ibaka was noted to be the third member of a big three for the Toronto Raptors. While his defensive ability is his main utility, Ibaka took it upon himself to be a contributor on the offensive end for the Raptors. For better or for worse. This year 82% of Serge Ibaka’s field goals have been assisted. In comparison, only 72% of his shots from the previous season were assisted. Ibaka has made it a point to be an option for teammates off the dribble and on the break, as a lineup of Leonard, Lowry, Siakam, and Green forces him into the role of third/fourth playmaking option. Head coach Nick Nurse said that he spent more than a week with Ibaka over the summer clarifying his role with the team. Ibaka seems to have bought in and is averaging a career high in points (16.7 PPG) and the second highest field goal percentage of his career (55%).

Indiana Pacers at Toronto Raptors Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Toronto Raptors favoured over the Indiana Pacers by 7, with an over/under of 109.