Indiana (35-33) at Toronto (40-29)
When: Sunday, March 19th 2017
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Time: 6:05 ET | TV: NBA TV
Two Eastern Conference teams, who oddly enough haven’t met since the playoffs last year, will tangle in Toronto as the Raptors host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night at Air Canada Centre. The Pacers will try to snap a three-game road slide and earn back-to-back wins for the first time in over a month when they take on Toronto. Indiana is sitting in the No. 6 spot in the East but is only 2.5 games in front of the ninth-place Detroit Pistons and looks like two different teams over the last two weeks depending on the venue. The Pacers averaged 84.7 points in the last three road games while putting up an average of 105 in the last three at home, including an impressive 98-77 victory on Wednesday of the Charlotte Hornets – the same team they fell to 100-88 on the road March 6th. Indiana has been off since that win over Charlotte on Wednesday and is setting up for a stretch of three games in four nights that includes a home date with West power Utah on Monday and a trip to Boston on Wednesday.
The Raptors are more comfortably in the playoffs at the No. 4 spot in the East but are still learning how to play without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry and have started to lean on the defense. They were able to smother the Pistons offense on Friday night in an 87-75 victory, to remain four games behind the Celtics in the Atlantic Division. They held the Pistons to just 34.9% shooting and 3-of-20 from 3-point territory, which was a good thing, because the Raptors shot a porous 38.5% themselves. Serge Ibaka led five players in double-figures with 17 points and also grabbed nine rebounds in the win. Ibaka averaged 13.5 points in the last two games after going scoreless in 32 minutes against Dallas on Monday. The teams have not met since Toronto beat Indiana in Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs last spring but will meet three times over the next three weeks.
I would have a hard time betting on the Pacers on the road right now even though they’re getting 4 points. I was really impressed with Toronto’s defense on Friday and I think they can do the same thing to Indiana. I’ll lay the points.
Pick: Raptors -4
HEAD TO HEAD
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