Time to Play Spoiler?

Coming into this game both teams have only 18 games left on their respective schedules, but they are both playing for different goals. The Raptors currently sit 10 games out of that final playoff spot in the East and are most likely playing to win at least 25 games, develop their young guys and looking towards the draft in June. The Pacers on the other hand are currently holding onto that 8th playoff seed and looking to widen the distance between them and the Charlotte Bobcats who are only 1 game behind. Their objectives may be different, but getting a win tonight will be of the utmost importance to both teams. Though it's of most significant to the Pacers, the Raptors have to opportunity to play spoiler tonight and make the Pacers work to secure that final playoff spot. They will also be looking to end a three-game losing skid in the process.

The Basics: Toronto 17-47 (12-21 at home; 8 home games left), Indiana 27-37 (losers of 5 straight)

When We Last Saw Them: After two losses to the Nets in London, the Raptors returned home to face the struggling Jazz on Wednesday and lost another heart-breaker after Al Jefferson tipped in a Devin Harris miss at the buzzer for the win. Other than the questionable calls and the missed travel call on Harris in the end the team had only themselves to blame as they had a 12 point lead with just under 7 minutes left and squandered that lead to suffer another loss. Reggie Evans made his long awaited return in that game and looked like is usual self finishing with 7 points and 11 boards in about 34 minutes of play-time.

Key Match-ups: Raptors wings vs the Pacers wings. With guys like Danny Granger, who has only been shooting 30% from the field thus far in March, Brandon Rush, Darren Collison, Paul George patrolling the perimeter, the Raptors wings are going to have to be able to stay with those guys and not give up open looks in the perimeter. Even though Granger may be in a shooting slump he could use a game like this as an opportunity to get out of that funk and light up the Raptors. The battle on the boards will also be important because, as seen in the last game when the Raptors were not able to secure the boards in the closing minutes, the Pacers can use the height and athleticism of Hibbert, Hansbrough and McRoberts to create plenty of second chance opportunities to score.

Injury Report:
  • Andrea Bargnani (TOR) who missed the last game with flu-like symptoms is listed as probable for tonights game
  • Amir Johnson (TOR) who left the last game with and ankle sprain is listed as questionable
  • Alexis Ajinca (TOR) is listed as questionable with a sore right knee
  • Jeff Foster (IND) is listed as day-to-day with a sore back
  • Mike Dunleavy (IND) is out with a broken left thumb
Other Things of Note:
  • Tyler Hansbrough seems to have found his niche in Indiana as he's averaging17.3 points and 7.7 rebounds over his last 6 games
  • Julian Wright has only seen playtime in only 3 of the Raptors' last 10 games
  • Both teams are averaging about 99 points per game, but the Pacers are only giving up 100.7 while the Raptors are allowing 105.3
Where It Is On: Rogers Sportsnet One, can also listen in on The Fan590 with Eric Smith and Paul Jones

No comments:

Post a Comment