Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers at Raptors


Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers at Raptors

SCOUTING THE PACERS: Riding a five-game losing streak, the most recent a 101-75 road decision to the Timberwolves Wednesday night, the Pacers (27-37) will try to right the ship in Toronto. Their two top scorers both are struggling mightily. Danny Granger is coming off a 2-of-19 outing in Minneapolis and has averaged 13.6 points on 27.5 percent shooting in the skid, going three straight games without a 3-pointer for the first time since 2007. Roy Hibbert went scoreless for the first time this season Wednesday, missing all six of his shots. Interim coach Frank Vogel changed the lineup Wednesday, promoting Tyler Hansbrough and Paul George in place of Josh McRoberts and Brandon Rush, a move aimed at solving the team's problem with slow starts. The Pacers have been outscored 152-111 in the first quarter during the streak. Though they still hold eighth, the Pacers are just one game ahead of Charlotte and 1½ up on Milwaukee.

SCOUTING THE RAPTORS: With five losses in six games and mounting injuries, the Raptors (17-47) offer a ripe opportunity for the Pacers to snap their streak. Indiana is 2-0 against Toronto this season, including a 104-93 decision on Jan. 31 in Vogel's debut. The Raptors are coming off a demoralizing 96-94 home loss to Utah in which they blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead and lost on Al Jefferson's tip-in at the buzzer. Leading scorer Andrea Bargnani missed that game with flu-like symptoms and starting power forward Amir Johnson left in the first quarter with a left ankle sprain and did not return.

KEY MATCHUP: The Pacers have won the key center matchup in both previous meetings with the Raptors, as Hibbert has racked up 37 points and 17 rebounds while Bargnani has shot just 8-of-26, including 0-of-6 from the 3-point line. Toronto needs the defense-stretching productivity from Bargnani on the perimeter to make its offense work, assuming he is able to play after missing the last game due to illness.

QUOTE MARKS: "We want to come out aggressively on defense. I thought we did some good things on the defensive end, but we forgot about the offense. It's going to take a matter of time when we put everything together." – Pacers point guard Darren Collison on holding Minnesota to .385 shooting Wednesday.

INJURY REPORT: For the Pacers, Jeff Foster (sore back) and Josh McRoberts (sore right knee) are day-to-day and Mike Dunleavy (broken left thumb) is out. For the Raptors, Amir Johnson (sprained left ankle), Andrea Bargnani (flu-like symptoms) and Reggie Evans (fractured right foot) are day-to-day, while Linas Kleiza (right knee surgery) is out.

BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 7:30. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bob "Slick" Leonard, with Kevin Lee reporting.

INTERACT: You can chat with other fans around the country in our live game chat, which begins at tipoff.


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