The Toronto Raptors are winners of five straight at home and will try to avenge one of their recent road losses when they host the Indiana Pacers on Friday. The Raptors took five of their last seven overall but could not find a way around the Pacers in Indiana last Friday and ended up with a 107-104 setback.
Toronto bounced back from that defeat in impressive fashion with a 112-78 bludgeoning of the Atlanta Hawks to finish out the road trip and returned to Canada for the start of a three-game homestand with a 126-113 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, but that didn’t stop coach Dwane Casey from sounding off about a trend of lackluster third-quarter play. “That’s totally unacceptable,” Casey told reporters. “We’re not going to win anything if we come out with that attitude, if we don’t fix it. Again, we’ve talked about, I don’t know, start another five to start the second half? It’s just mind-boggling.” The Pacers are winners of six of their last eight games, with the two losses coming to conference leaders Boston and Houston. “That’s exactly what I told our guys, that these are very good teams and it’s going to be a challenge to not only play and defend them, but execute offensively against them,” Indiana coach Nate McMillan told reporters.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FS Indiana, TSN 1/4 (Toronto)
ABOUT THE PACERS (12-10): Indiana brought in shooting guard Victor Oladipo from the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the Paul George trade over the summer and is getting a leader as well as a new high scorer (22.8 points). Oladipo, who hit his first 11 shots in a 121-109 win over Orlando on Monday, scored 19 points in Wednesday’s 118-97 loss to the Rockets and feels his team is capable of competing with the top teams. “They really made some tough shots in the second half and we missed some shots that we normally make today,” Oladipo told reporters after the loss. “But you have to give them credit as they played well down the stretch. There’s some things we can do better, obviously, and we have to continue to keep getting better.”
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (13-7): Toronto has a pair of high-scoring guards in DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, who combined for 66 points in Wednesday’s win. Lowry scored a season-high 36 points in the victory while going 12-of-18 from the field and 8-of-11 from 3-point range. “You’re just trying to find him, whatever,” reserve guard Fred VanVleet told the Toronto Star of Lowry. “I think I had one I could have shot and I saw him, I gave it up right away. Eight-for-11 from 3 is pretty impressive and, when he’s got it going like that, it’s pretty hard to guard.”
1. Raptors PF Serge Ibaka is 0-of-12 from 3-point range over the last four games.
2. Pacers C Myles Turner (knee soreness) is questionable for Friday.
3. Toronto beat Indiana twice at home last season by an average of 18 points.
PREDICTION: Raptors 113, Pacers 111