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Game 5 Preview: Raptors vs. Pacers

Matt Tierney - Raptors.com

The series shifts to Toronto tonight for Game 5 after the Pacers and Raptors split a pair in Indiana. With a win in Game 3, the Raptors regained home-court advantage and will be looking for a bounce-back performance at Air Canada Centre tonight after falling to the Pacers on Saturday. Fans should again note the early start time of 6pm with the Square open at 4pm. Come out early for $5 beers courtesy of Coors Light and some ticket giveaways just like this...

Tip-off - 6PMAir Canada Centre doors open: - 5PMBroadcast info: SN | TSN1050 RADIO | NBA on TNTFord Fanzone open: 4PMPregame Show: 4:30PM on NBA TV Canada

LESSONS LEARNED

Missed Opportunities – Save for Jonas Valanciunas, it was a tough shooting night for the Raptors in Game 4. Toronto was 27-74 from the floor and the 36% FG was their lowest of the series.

"We were missing a lot of wide-open threes. We had opportunities,” said DeMarre Carroll who was one of the more efficient Raptors finishing 4/9 for 12 points.

The Raps also failed to protect the ball, coughing it up 17 times. It was uncharacteristic of a team that finished the regular season averaging the second fewest turnovers per game. "We had some opportunities but we shot ourselves in the foot. We had a lot of turnovers,” added Carroll after Game 4.

The team will be hoping to shore both these areas up ahead of a pivotal Game 5 matchup tonight.

Home Cooking - Toronto finished the regular season tied for the fourth best home record in the NBA at 32-9. Two of those wins were over Indiana and including the playoffs they are 3-1 vs. their first round opponent at home.

After splitting the first four games, it now becomes a three-game series with home-court advantage back in the Raptors hands. "We’re going back home. We’re right where we want to be, that’s the reason why you have home-court advantage. We recovered that,” said Dwane Casey.

Lowry knows how important it is that they take care of business in front of the Air Canada Centre crowd. “It’s home court and we have to take advantage of that."

GAME 3 TALKING POINTS

1) Will Indy Switch It Up? - “One thing about playoff basketball, every game is different."

What Kyle Lowry meant as he explained to the media yesterday is that in the playoffs, teams are constantly tweaking how they play based on the previous game in an effort to gain an edge.

For example, both teams made a change in their starting lineups, Carroll inserted in Game 2 for T.O. and Myles Turner was slotted in for Game 4 for Indiana.

The Pacers also tried to use their physicality more in the post in Game 4.

“They definitely bogged it up and made sure JV got hit,” was how Lowry saw it Saturday night.

Will the Pacers stick with their new starting five? Will the Raptors counter with a lineup change of their own? It’s a back-and-forth game. “It’s just about who makes the adjustments quicker,” according to Lowry.

2) Things Are Getting Spicy - Despite no visible bad blood between these two teams, the physical nature of the series started to boil over Saturday afternoon.

There were four technical fouls assessed, one to each of Paul George, Patrick Patterson, Carroll and Valanciunas.

Carroll and George in particular have gone back and forth on the court in an entertaining physical battle all series.

Both players know each other well and used to play in the offseason. Those things no longer matter once the whistle blows and Carroll confirmed that to a reporter at BioSteel Centre yesterday afternoon.

“When I’m on the court, I’m nobody’s friend except for the guys in my locker room.”

Bring on Game 5.

3) Regain Rebounding Advantage - An area where Casey and his staff may look to get back on track is on the glass.

In the first three games, Toronto out-rebounded Indiana 141-109. Jonas Valanciunas grabbed 48 of those but was held to just six in Game 4 as the Raps managed just 40 to the Pacers 43.

Indiana’s Mahinmi was the big difference finishing with a game-high 10 boards. Casey attributed it to the Raps going small in an effort to help their scoring, however the coach also felt it was down to pure hustle. “Some of it is, just our focus and our intensity of going back and getting the ball.”

Part of the plan has to be to get Valanciunas and the Raps back on track on the boards and prevent a repeat performance from Mahinmi and Co.

#WeTheNorth