Wednesday, October 31 at 7:00 PM at the Air Canada Centre

Game Preview: IND at TOR

by Scott Agness

Matchup

The Indiana Pacers will face a big test to start the season: 12 of their first 18 games are on the road, Danny Granger is out indefinitely with a knee injury and George Hill still isn't 100-percent.

It will take a collaborative effort and the unselfish Pacers believe they are up to the task. After a 42-24 record last season and a third-place finish in the conference, the team has high hopes for the new season. They like the pieces and depth they have assembled and it'll first be on display in a regular season game Wednesday night across the border in Toronto.

The preseason is complete and for a team like the Pacers, it was mostly about getting repetitions with each other. The starting lineup was intact from the end of last season. However, due to various injuries, the group never started a preseason game together.

With adversity and a tough road schedule to start the year, early on we should see the toughness and leadership this team has. It's imperative for them to start well and gel quickly.

Individually, it'll be interesting to see if Gerald Green can step up while Danny Granger is out, whether D.J. Augustin can be the backup point guard the Pacers desire, and if Paul George can have a breakout season.

Unlike many teams, head coach Frank Vogel said he will not name captains, and instead have 'leaders of council.'

On the other side, the Raptors have many reasons to be excited for a new year. They won all but one preseason game, have three new starters and are determined to earn a postseason bid for the first time since 2008.

Last season, they went 23-43. In the draft, Toronto selected Terrence Ross out of Kentucky with the 8th-pick and added Quincy Acy of Baylor in the second-round. And this summer, the Raptors signed 6-foot-7 guard Landry Fields to a three-year deal.

Most importantly, the Raptors' 2011 first round pick Jonas Valanciunas, a highly-touted Lithuanian center, will make his NBA debut after his team overseas refused to release him last season. The Raptors are very high on the 20-year-old and hope he is the future of their team.

Probable Starters

Pacers

  • C – Roy Hibbert
  • F – David West
  • F – Gerald Green
  • G – Paul George
  • G – George Hill

Raptors

  • C – Jonas Valanciunas
  • F – Andrea Bargnani
  • F – Landry Fields
  • G – DeMar Derozan
  • G – Kyle Lowry

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee), George Hill (probable, hip pointer)

Bulls: Andrea Bargnani (questionable, flu-like symptoms)

Quotable

"I feel really good. It’s obviously not your ideal situation but every team and every coach has to deal with this. I feel great about our depth, and I feel great about our experience." – Frank Vogel on beginning the regular season without Granger

"They are much improved. Kyle Lowry, in talking to people around the league, has changed their mindset and their culture. He played at an All-Star level last year…he’s come in there and given them solid play at the point guard spot." – Vogel on Toronto

"I’m extremely excited to go out there and compete. Toronto has a pretty good team. They have a new big guy, and they have Kyle Lowry, who has done exceptionally well for them. We’re going to have our hands full and get the first game jitters out of the way." – Roy Hibbert

"I’m fine. It’s getting better every day. I’m not where I want to be but I have to go with the punches and keep trying to get better every day, but I’ll be fine." – George Hill on his health

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers swept the season series with the Raptors last year for the first time since 2003-04.
  • For the second consecutive season, the Pacers first road test is in Toronto.
  • Toronto is 9-8 in season openers.
  • Raptors assistant coach Johnny Davis played for the Pacers from 1978-1982.
  • Raptors assistant coach Micah Nori attended Indiana University and was a four-year starter on the IU baseball team from 1993-1997.

Last Meeting

The Pacers won all three games against the Raptors last season. And they won by five points, every time, with more points scored each game (90-85, 95-90, 103-98).

During their meeting in April, Indiana earned another tight win, 103-98. The Pacers 15-point lead late got cut to two. George Hill and former Raptor Leandro Barbosa both knocked down an outside shot down the stretch to help seal the win. Hill, in for injured Darren Collison, started his first game of the season and subsequently took over the starting role for good. He and Granger each finished with 18 points while Paul George contributed 15.

The win started Indiana's seven-game win streak, their longest of the lockout-shortened season.

Upcoming

The Pacers first home game is this Saturday, November 3rd at 7:00 PM against the Sacramento Kings. Opening night includes a free Blue Collar Gold Swagger T-Shirt and the premiere of the NBA's best, new scoreboard. Tickets start at $10. Buy Tickets for Opening Night »

Broadcast Information

TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)

Radio: 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play)

Find Your Local TV Listing

  • Accelplus 30
  • AT&T U-verse 749 (HD 1749)
  • Avenue 34
  • Bright House 47 or 64 (HD 747)
  • Charter-Vincennes 34
  • Cinergy-Metronet 28 (HD 828)
  • Citizens TBA
  • Comcast-Fort Wayne 8 (HD 1652)
  • Comcast-Indianapolis/Shelbyville 28 or 44 (HD 1673)
  • DirecTV 673 (HD 673-1)
  • Dish varies (444-453, 470s)
  • Fairpoint/Unite 37 (HD 437)
  • Frontier FiOS 77 (HD 577)
  • Indiana Fones 31
  • Insight-Bloomington 61
  • Insight-Evansville 47 (HD 929)
  • Insight-Kokomo/Richmond/Anderson 53
  • IUTV-Bloomington TBA
  • LigTV 63
  • Mediacom-Auburn 17 (HD 732)
  • New Wave-Greencastle/Vincennes 34
  • Time Warner-Newburgh 37
  • Time Warner-Terre Haute 36
  • WOW 31 (HD 828)
  • DISH Network (442) – Note: DISH channels change from game-to-game, be sure to check your listings.

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