The Indiana Pacers are on their first 5-0 start since joining the NBA in 1976-77 and have the chance to go a 6-0 that they’ve only accomplished in their ABA days. The Toronto Raptors stand in their way.
The struggling Raptors have opened their season at 2-3 and have yet to post a winning record since the 2006-07 season. Last year, the Raptors and Pacers split their four games against each other, with two of them coming down to the wire. There’s a good reason why it could happen again.
The Pacers really need to pay attention to this game and not look forward to the next two games luring behind the Raptors. The Pacers have a game on Saturday against the much-improved Brooklyn Nets and will take on defending defensive player of the year Marc Gasol and the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. That is an award that Pacers center Roy Hibbert has his eyes on this year.
The Pacers could fall to the Raptors if the scoring duo of DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay shoot a high percentage from the floor. That could be hard to do with the Pacers’ stingy defense that has held opponents under 40 percent shooting in every game this season. Look for the Raptors to take multiple outside shots because blocks leader Hibbert is waiting on the inside to stop any potential drive around the rim.
Statistically, the Pacers should easily take this game with their stingy defense. However, as most players are saying during interviews, they must take their season one game at a time. The Raptors could pull off an upset with a stunning shot at the end of the game if the Pacers do not follow that rule.
Justin Logan is an Indiana Pacers writer for Rant Sports. Add him on Facebook.