Game Preview: Raptors vs. Pacers
Indiana Pacers (12-10) @ Toronto Raptors (13-7)
When: Friday, December 1, 7:30 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: TSN, SN590
The Raptors fell 107-104 to the Pacers just a week ago in Indiana in a nail-biter that went down to the wire. Though Toronto led by 10 at the half, a lacklustre third quarter saw the team go into the fourth trailing by one. With the game on the line, Lance Stephenson stepped up for Indiana. Stephenson scored 13 of his 18 points in the final quarter after Victor Oladipo left the game with a knee contusion. Stephenson was a perfect 4-for-4 from three in the fourth, and 7-for-9 overall in the quarter. Kyle Lowry led the Raptors, scoring 24 points in the loss, while Fred VanVleet added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists off the bench.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: Delon Wright will be out for the Raptors once again with a shoulder injury. For the Pacers, Glenn Robinson III is out rehabbing from ankle surgery and Edmond Sumner is out rehabbing from knee surgery.
Home court advantage: Coming into Friday's contest, the Air Canada Centre has been sold-out for 145 consecutive games, including playoffs, dating back to Nov. 11, 2014. This is the longest sellout streak in franchise history. Toronto is an NBA-best 7-1 at home this season.
Oladipo rolling: Over the offseason, fifth-year guard Victor Oladipo returned to Indiana, where he went to college, after spending the first four years of his career in Orlando and Oklahoma City. The trade couldn't have worked out better for him. Oladipo is averaging 22.8 points per game, more than doubling his career-average 10.7 points-per-game. He is also averaging career-highs in rebounding and steals, while also shooting better than ever from the field and three-point line.
VanVleet providing boost: With extra minutes and opportunity, Fred VanVleet has been huge for the Raptors, hitting crucial shots late, providing energy off the bench, and finding his teammates for open looks of their own. After scoring a career-high 16 points against the Indiana Pacers last week, VanVleet recorded another career-high, this time in assists, against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. VanVleet led the Raptors with nine assists to go with his eight points in 19 minutes off the bench.
Double thirty: Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan each topped the 30-point mark against the Hornets, combining for 66 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists and a steal on Wednesday. Lowry had a ridiculously efficient game, scoring his 36 points on 12-for-18 shooting as he connected on a career-high eight three-pointers in 11 tries. Wednesday's game was also the first time that two Raptors teammates had at least 30 points and six assists in the same game.
Poeltl excelling: Though his minutes have fluctuated since Jonas Valanciunas returned from an early-season angle sprain, big man Jakob Poeltl has continued to impress the coaching staff in his second season. "I think the coaches did a great job at Utah," Dwane Casey said. "[Larry Krystkowiak] had been a pro player himself so that helped Delon and Jakob to understand the pro game, the pick-and-roll game, the pick-and-roll defensive game, just all the nuances they did at Utah that really transferred to the NBA."