Game Preview: Raptors vs. Pacers
Indiana Pacers (47-32) @ Toronto Raptors (56-22)
When: Friday, April 6th, 7:30 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: SN1, TSN1050
The Raptors last saw the Pacers in Indiana, picking up a 106-99 victory behind a 24-point performance from DeMar DeRozan and a 16-point, 17-rebound double-double from Jonas Valanciunas. The Pacers led 79-77 heading into the fourth before the Raptors reeled off a 16-4 run to take control of the game and leave with the victory. Former Pacers player C.J. Miles drilled three three-pointers in the quarter to help Toronto move in front, while 16 of DeRozan's 24 points came in the second half as Toronto won its 10th consecutive game. Serge Ibaka added 13 points and 11 rebounds as the Raptors outrebounded Indiana 58-35 in the win. Al Jefferson had a season-high 20 points and Darren Collison added 22 points in the loss.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: The injury report for both teams is clear.
56 down: The Raptors defeated the Boston Celtics 96-78 on Wednesday night, earning their 56th victory of the season. This ties the franchise record for most wins in a season, originally set during the 2015-16 season. Wednesday's home victory also tied the franchise record for home wins in a season with 32.
Two more: Friday's game against the Pacers will be followed by a Sunday contest against the Orlando Magic for Toronto's final two home games of the regular season. The Raptors will head on the road to finish the regular season with games against the Pistons and Heat. The Pacers come to Toronto for a back-to-back, following their 126-106 victory against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.
Leading the way: After Wednesday's victory against the Celtics, the Raptors enter Friday's game leading the Eastern Conference by 3.0 games over Boston. A Raptors victory or Celtics loss will clinch the top seed for Toronto. A win would also set a new franchise record for wins in a season.
Charging forward: Kyle Lowry stepped in to take two charges against the Celtics on Wednesday. Lowry has drawn 35 charges this season, an NBA-high, more than doubling his last season total of 15 charges drawn. In addition to his work on the defensive end of the floor, Lowry also added 13 points, five rebounds, five assists, a steal and a blocked shot against Boston.
Bebe boost: With the Raptors needing a boost in the first half against the Celtics, Dwane Casey went to Lucas Nogueira. The big man immediately made an impact, helping the Raptors to a dominant second quarter where they outscored the Celtics 29-13, and were a +13 with Nogueira on the floor. Though he scored just six points to go with two rebounds, Nogueira was a +19 in 18 minutes off the bench.