T.J. McConnell
(NBAE/Getty Images)

Game Preview: Pacers at Raptors

Wednesday, March 22 at 7:30 PM ET at Scotiabank Arena

Pacers at Raptors
Game Preview

The Pacers are north of the border for the first and only time in the regular season, as Indiana (32-40) takes on the Raptors (35-37) on the second stop of a four-game road trip. The Blue & Gold are 2-0 against Toronto this season, taking a pair of games at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Nov. 12 and Jan. 2.

This particular trip to Canada is especially significant to rookies Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard, as it marks the first time either will take part in an NBA game in their native country.

Mathurin, a Montreal native, just returned on Monday in Charlotte after missing four games with sprained ankle. The 20-year-old out of the University of Arizona showed little signs of rust, tallying 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting in 30 minutes in a 115-109 loss to the Hornets.

Nembhard, from the Toronto suburb of Aurora, has slid over to the starting point guard position over the last five games with All-Star Tyrese Haliburton sidelined. The 23-year-old Gonzaga product has equipped himself well in that roll, averaging 16.4 points and 5.6 assists over that span, shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from 3-point range.

Like the Pacers, the Raptors are fighting to earn a spot in the NBA's Play-In Tournament, where the teams that finish seventh through 10th in each conference in the regular season compete for the final two playoff spots. While the Pacers are currently in 12th place and 2.5 games back of 10th, the Raptors are in ninth and hoping to move up at least to seventh or eighth (where teams only need to win one Play-In game instead of two to secure a postseason berth).

Toronto boasts a balanced attack, with six players averaging at least 15 points per game. Two-time All-Star Pascal Siakam leads the way, averaging 24.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. Point guard Fred VanVleet is also a major catalyst for the offense, averaging 19.6 points and 7 assists and attempting nearly nine 3-pointers per game.

The Raptors bolstered their frontcourt at the trade deadline, reacquiring 7-1 center Jakob Poeltl from San Antonio. The big man out of Austria was originally drafted by Toronto in 2016 and played two seasons there before being dealt to the Spurs in the trade that brought Kawhi Leonard to Toronto. Poeltl has excelled since returning to the Raptors last month, averaging 15.1 points on 62.3 percent shooting and 9.4 rebounds over his first 16 games back in Toronto.

The turnover battle will be worth watching on Wednesday as the Raptors are one of the NBA's best teams at both preventing and forcing turnovers. Toronto commits just 11.9 turnovers per game, the lowest average in the league. The Raptors also lead the league in steals, forcing 9.3 per contest, and are ninth in blocks per game (5.1).

Projected Starters

Pacers:  G - Andrew Nembhard, G - Buddy Hield, F - Bennedict Mathurin, F - Aaron Nesmith, C - Myles Turner

Raptors: G - Fred VanVleet, G - Scottie Barnes, F - O.G. Anunoby, F - Pascal Siakam, C - Jakob Poeltl

Injury Report

Pacers:  Chris Duarte - questionable (sore left ankle), Tyrese Haliburton - questionable (right ankle sprain), Kendall Brown - out (right tibia stress fracture)

Raptors: Scottie Barnes - questionable (sore left wrist), Dalano Banton - out (left thumb sprain), Otto Porter Jr. - out (left foot surgery - second toe dislocation)

Last Meeting

Jan. 2, 2023: Bennedict Mathurin scored a team-high 21 points as the Pacers' bench outscored the Raptors' reserves 54-7 in a 122-114 victory at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

“Our second unit came in and gave us what we needed – force, energy, attacking, unselfish play,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “They were the difference in the game as a whole.”

In addition to Mathurin's contributions, T.J. McConnell scored 15 points off the bench and fellow reserve Jalen Smith recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Buddy Hield led the starters with 19 points, going 4-for-7 from 3-point range. Myles Turner added 18 points, 10 boards, and two blocks, while Tyrese Haliburton tallied 16 points and eight assists.

Gary Trent Jr. had a game-high 32 points for Toronto, going 11-for-18 from the field and 5-for-10 from beyond the arc. Pascal Siakam added 26 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, while Scottie Barnes registered 23 points, eight boards, and eight dimes.

  • The Pacers have lost their last 15 regular season games in Toronto, with their last regular-season victory at Scotiabank Arena coming on March 1, 2013. They did win a road game against the Raptors in Tampa, where the Raptors relocated for the 2020-21 season, and also beat the Raptors in Toronto in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series in 2016.
  • With a win on Wednesday, Indiana would sweep the season series with the Raptors for the first time since 2011-12.
  • The Pacers have made 995 3-pointers on the season and will set a new franchise record for threes made in a season with their third 3-pointer on Wednesday. The Blue & Gold have set a new franchise record in three of the last four seasons, making 779 3-pointers in 2018-19, 889 in 2020-21, and 997 in 2021-22.
Broadcast Information (TV and Radio Listings >>)

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)

Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (studio host)


After a four-game road trip, the Pacers will return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, March 27 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>