Indiana plays Toronto in a NBA best of seven series that has the winner of each game being the team that five out of six times scores 100 or more points. That may say less about each club’s offense and more about each team’s defense. In only one of the games of this series has the winning team scored under 100. That was in game two when the Raptors beat the pacers 98- 87. The average margin of victory in this series has been 14.1 points, which makes the spread alluring to say the least as the bookies are favoring the Raptors by 5.5 points. There’s definitely value in betting this game.
Most everyone picked the second seed Raptors (56-26) to take this series from the seventh seed Pacer (45-37) in five games. Toronto won the regular season series 3-1. But as the playoff series has shown when Indiana plays Toronto these days game results are tough to anticipate. The Pacers took game one in Toronto by 10 points. That was a huge surprise. Then the Raptors won the next two games.
Up 2-1, Toronto looked golden, but some adjustments by the Pacers and the inability of the Raptors to counter those adjustments led to the next three games being won by the home team The last three contests saw the Pacers winning game four 100-83. Toronto countered with a 102-99 win, and then Indiana managed to put off elimination by blowing out Toronto 101-83 in game six.
Keys to the Game
The game will be played at Air Canada Centre, which gives Toronto an edge especially due to the fact that over the past three games this had turned into a home-win series. In their last two losses, both in Indiana, the Raptors have been held to 83 points. Their one win was by three points.
The regular season has mirrored the postseason in this way- in the three Toronto wins, they scored more than 100 points and the Pacers were kept to under 100. The question regarding tonight’s game is can the Raptors put three digits on the scoreboard? If they can, they should move on to the next round of the playoffs.
Key players tonight include Indiana’s small forward Paul George. George is averaging 27.5 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 4.8 APG. He’s the difference-maker for the Pacers. The other player who has been crucial to the Pacers in the postseason is rookie power forward Myles Turner. Along with 11.3 PPG and 6.5 RPG, Turner has 3.2 BPG. Turner, who has played in each of the six playoff games, has started the last three. He’s been instrumental as a starter.
The Raptors have no one who can match George’s output, nor do they have anyone who is as versatile as the star power forward. Center Jonas Valanciunas has been solid under the basket, grabbing 11.3 RPG and putting 14.2 PPG on the scoreboard. Although he’s doing his part, neither of the Raptors’ key power forwards, Patrick Patterson nor Luis Scola, has been effective against George. They must come through tonight, negating his output by slowing him down and boxing him out. That may not be possible.
When Indiana plays Toronto tonight point guard Kyle Lowry needs to have a stellar game. Averaging 14.3 PPG, 7.3 APG, and 4.2 RPG, he’s played well. If he can make things happen from the outside, Lowry can be a major factor tonight. However, he still needs important help from the Toronto frontcourt.
Indiana Plays Toronto: Pick
Tonight when Indiana plays Toronto at the Air Canada Centre the Raptors will need to control the boards. Even if they do so and win, it’s not expected that they will do so by more than a few points. This should be either a massive Indiana win or a close victory by Toronto. For that reason, take the Pacers at +5.5