Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs. Raptors
Monday, April 9 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 7 p.m.
SCOUTING THE PACERS: Though an 86-72 loss to Boston Saturday snapped a four-game win streak and left the Pacers with a slightly more tenuous grip on third in the East, the schedule turns in their favor. Seven of the 10 remaining games are at home, and the Pacers only have three games against teams with winning records. So the opportunity is there to build momentum heading into the playoffs. Their offensive surge of five straight games with at least 100 points came to a screeching halt against the Celtics as they tied a season low for points and shot just 35 percent.
Their 3-point shooting has suffered of late, as the team has shot 21 of 75 (.280) in the last four games. Other than Danny Granger, the team has shot .214 (12 of 56) in that stretch. For a team that is 7-13 when it hits less than one-third of its 3-pointers, that is a troubling statistics. Granger has five straight games with at least 20 points, averaging 25.0 on .512 shooting overall, .556 from the arc, but others have struggled. Paul George has gone 3-of-20 in the last two games and is 3-of-19 from the arc in the last seven, while George Hill has gone scoreless four times in the last 12 games and averaged just 4.6 points on 29 percent shooting in the last nine.
SCOUTING THE RAPTORS: Though out of the playoff hunt, the Raptors have played well of late, winning four of six heading into a matchup with Oklahoma City in Sunday. They've leaned heavily on Andrea Bargnani, one of the league's best-shooting big men, and emerging young shooting guard DeMar Derozan, who took a streak of 11 straight games with at least 15 points into the Oklahoma City game.
The Pacers shouldn't need to be reminded about DeRozan, as he racked up 45 points in two games against them early in the season. Though Indiana won both, 90-85 on Dec. 28 and 95-90 on Jan. 13, they were competitive games and Bargnani missed the second.
KEY MATCHUP: This is Leandro Barbosa's first game against the Raptors since being traded from Toronto to Indiana on March 15. No doubt he will want to have a big game against his former teammates, and the Pacers are 5-0 when he scores in double figures.
QUOTE MARKS: "I have been off some and I’ve got to get my mind and body ready for the rest of the season. The season end is coming up close and I want to be ready." - George
INJURY REPORT: For the Pacers, none are reported. For the Raptors, Jose Calderon (eye) is probable, Gary Forbes (knee) is questionable, and Jerryd Bayless (oblique) is out.
TICKETS: Buy now
BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game with Brook Olzendam hosting the pregame show starting at 6:30. The radio broadcast will air on WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bob "Slick" Leonard.
INTERACT: You can get in-game commentary from this group of Pacers personalities throughout the game on Twitter.