Toronto (1-1) at Indiana (1-1)
When: Thursday, April 21st 2016
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Time: 7:35 ET | TV: NBA TV
The Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers shift venues for Game 3 of their first round NBA Playoff series as they split the first two in Toronto. The Raptors broke a seven-game playoff losing streak with the win on Monday, but All-Star guars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan continue to struggle. Lowry is averaging 14 points on 7-of-26 shooting and DeRozan is averaging 12 points on 10-of-37 shooting as neither player has come close to his All-Star form in the series. Most concerning was DeRozan’s Game 2 showing as he didn’t attempt a single free throw. He averaged 8.4 per game in the regular season and coach Dwane Casey kept him on the bench for the entire fourth quarter. Jonas Valanciunas stepped up his game with 23 points and 15 rebounds in Monday’s 98-87 victory as the Raptors evened the series. The 7-foot center is averaging 17.5 points and 17 rebounds through the first two games of the series, but Toronto will need Lowry and DeRozan to step up their games if the Raptors want to advance. Backup PG Cory Joseph is averaging 17 points on 11-of-14 shooting in the series.
All-Star forward Paul George and shooting guard Monta Ellis are the only two Pacers averaging in double-digits and they will need more production out of the rest of their team going forward. George is averaging 30.5 points in the series and Ellis is contributing 15.0. Other than George, Indiana’s frontcourt production has been practically non-existent with starting center Ian Mahinmi (0-of-8 shooting) and starting power forward Lavoy Allen each averaging three points per game. “We all have to do a better job of helping Paul out,” Pacers guard Rodney Stuckey told reporters. “We’re at our best offensively when we’re moving the ball around and moving (our feet).” Indiana could use a little more from reserve forwards Myles Turner (9.0) and Solomon Hill (7.5). The Pacers were 26-15 at home this year and split a pair with the Raptors.
This is turning out to be the toughest series to predict. I have to think that Lowry and DeRozan are going to start playing better and if they do, the Raptors should easily win this series. I’m going to take them here tonight laying the point. Toronto will find a way to slow down George.
Pick: Raptors -1