Game Preview: Pacers at Raptors
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at 7:30 PM ET at Scotiabank Arena
After coming up short against last year's NBA Champions, the Pacers (1-3) are looking to rebound on the road against the Toronto Raptors (1-3) Wednesday night. After spending last year in Tampa, Florida due to Canada's COVID-19 restrictions, the Raptors are back home at Scotiabank Arena this year.
Even still, the Raptors have struggled to find their footing early in the season. Aside from an impressive 115-83 road victory against the Boston Celtics, Toronto has dropped decisions to Washington, Dallas, and Chicago to start the season. With the loss of Pascal Siakam due to injury and Kyle Lowry in an offseason trade, the squad's offensive production is placed on the shoulders of sixth-year player Fred VanVleet. Through four games, the Wichita State product is averaging 14.5 points and 8.8 assists per game.
In two of the Raptors' three losses, the team has failed to reach the century mark. After struggling against the Bucks, the Pacers' defense has a chance to regroup against a team that ranks 24th in offensive rating. Currently, the Blue & Gold rank 24th in the NBA in defensive rating, surrendering an average of 110.4 points per 100 possessions.
Pacers fans received encouraging news Tuesday afternoon about the condition of Caris LeVert. The guard has been in street clothes for the first four Pacers games due to a stress fracture in his back. However, head coach Rick Carlisle announced that he had his first practice with the team. Although his official return to play is still unknown, all news of LeVert has been positive.
The addition of LeVert to the lineup will help spread out the workload for Indiana's stars, especially for rookie Chris Duarte. While Duarte has been playing extraordinarily well, the Oregon product has played an average of 38.3 minutes per game – a volume not seen often in college basketball. Against Washington, he played a team-high 45:18. In an 82-game season, the increased playing time could lead to fatigue and minor injuries down the road. LeVert's return will also add another shot creator to the Pacers' talented backcourt – an added wrinkle to opposing defenses’ gameplans.
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Chris Duarte, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Raptors: PG - Fred VanVleet, SG - Gary Trent Jr., SF - OJ Anunoby, PF - Scottie Barnes, C - Precious Achiuwa
Pacers: Caris LeVert – questionable (sore back), Kelan Martin - out (sore left hamstring), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)
Raptors: Pascal Siakam - out (left shoulder injury recovery), Yuta Watanabe - out (left calf strain)
May 16, 2021: Indiana secured the ninth seed for last year's NBA Playoff Play-In with a 125-113 victory over the Raptors at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. It was the final game of the 2020-21 NBA regular season as it was shortened due to the effects of COVID-19.
Oshae Brissett led the charge for the Blue & Gold by tallying a career-high 31 points on10-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-8 from deep. After signing a 10-day contract with Indiana on April 1, the physical power forward worked his way into the starting rotation for the last month of the season. Aiding his efforts were Domantas Sabonis (25 points, 16 rebounds) and T.J. McConnell (12 points, 17 assists), who each finished with dominant double-doubles.
After a closely contested first quarter, Indiana started building its lead in the second. Brissett scored eight points of a 15-4 Pacers run that extended their lead to 14. They led 68-55 at halftime. The Raptors started the third with a 9-4 spree to close the gap to eight. However, the Blue & Gold responded with an 11-2 run. Brissett added 12 more during the period, as Indiana took a 94-83 lead into the fourth.
In the fourth, the Raptors closed the gap to nine, twice, near the midway mark of the frame. However, Brissett closed any comeback attempt down after drilling his fifth triple of the night with 4:10 to go. Toronto never threatened Indiana again.
- During the 2020-21 NBA season, the Pacers earned two regular-season wins over Toronto for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
- Indiana's last road win in Toronto came on March 1, 2013.
- Toronto has won nine of the last 13 and 18 of the past 25 contests dating back to the 2013-14 NBA season.
The Pacers will tip off a three-game homestand on Saturday, Oct. 30, when they host Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors at Gainbridge Fieldhouse at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »
Broadcast Information TV & 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 (sideline reporter/host)