By: Josh Weinstein
Following a disappointing performance in New York, the Toronto Raptors (11-6) look to re-enter the win column against the Indiana Pacers (10-8) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. This meeting marks the first time the Raptors are facing an Indiana team without Paul George, which should make this matchup much less of a headache.
While the Pacers did lose an all-star in George, they received a solid return in Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Both players had trouble integrating themselves with the Thunder, but have turned a corner since joining the Pacers. Oladipo, in particular, has become a reliable primary option for a Pacers team that surprising puts up 108.9 points per game (ranks sixth in the NBA). As for Sabonis, he’s emerged as an above average rebounder and is an efficient scorer on offence. The Pacers definitely wish they still had George, but Oladipo and Sabonis’ play this season has to make his departure a little bit easier.
This game is also the first time the Raps will face off against their beloved former point guard, Cory Joseph. C.J. Miles, the player Toronto got in return for Joseph, won’t face off against Indiana for the first time since being traded just yet. He’s with family celebrating the birth of his daughter and won’t be in the Hoosier State with the team.
It will be interesting to see how DeMar DeRozan asserts himself offensively for 48 minutes, especially after a lackluster second half in his last game. Expect DeRozan to put on a much more complete performance tonight, for the game’s entirety. He’s certainly looking to prove that his scoreless half at Madison Square Garden was a total aberration.
Tip-off is at 8:00 PM ET.
Projected starting lineups:
- PG Kyle Lowry
- SG DeMar DeRozan
- SF OG Anunoby
- PF Serge Ibaka
- C Jonas Valanciunas
- PG Darren Collison
- SG Victor Oladipo - Lance Stephenson would likely start if Oladipo can’t go.
- SF Bojan Bogdanovic
- PF Thaddeus Young
- C Myles Turner - Sabonis would likely start if Turner doesn’t play.