Indiana (3-3) at Toronto (3-3)
When: Sunday, May 1st 2016
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: TNT
The Toronto Raptors face enormous pressure on Sunday when they host Game 7 of their first round series with the Indiana Pacers. The second-seeded Raptors have not won a postseason series since 2001 – the longest drought in the NBA. They won 11 more games than the Pacers during the regular season and had a chance to close out the series in Game 6, but lost badly 101-83. All-Star guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry continue to struggle from the field. DeRozan is averaging 15.8 points and shooting 32.1% from the field, while Lowry is faring even worse at 14.3 points and 31%. Forward Patrick Patterson is shooting 31% over the past four games after starting off the series by making 9-of-11 shots. Backup PG Cory Joseph is picking up some of the slack by scoring 15 points in Game 6 and averaging 11.2 points and shooting 60.5% from the field in the series. “The season would be a failure if we don’t get out of the first round and give ourselves a chance to play in the second round,” DeRozan told reporters. “We understand that.” Toronto held off the Pacers in Game 5 at home 102-99 when a last second three-pointer that would have tied it was waved off.
The seventh-seeded Pacers really have nothing to lose heading into Game 7 and can become just the sixth No. 7 seed to win a first-round series since the playoffs were expanded to 16 teams in 1983-84. All five Indiana starters scored 12 or more points in Game 6 as the team gave All-Star forward Paul George some much-needed support. George has been carrying the team by averaging 27.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals in the series and he had 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in Friday’s victory. Rookie PF Myles Turner had 15 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots in Game 6 and has 19 rejections in the series. The Pacers held Toronto to just 36.7% shooting in Game 6 and forced 17 turnovers.
Toronto really has a lot of pressure and DeRozan and Lowry have been horrible. This game could go either way, so taking the six points seems like the smart play tonight.
Pick: Pacers +6