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Raptors vs. Pacers: Toronto Looks to Build Series Lead in Game 3

The Toronto Raptors got a big win in Game 2, but now it's time to show playoff winning isn't a fluke.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a very even series so far, with either team taking over a previously close game in the fourth quarter. In the series opener, the Indiana Pacers were propelled by Paul George's 33 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. During the second game in Toronto, the Raptors used their deep roster to overwhelm the Pacers late.

Both games have been settled by similar margins (10 points in the first and 11 in the second). Based on the way the games have been played, it would be hard to imagine either team running away with the rest of the series. Rather, it's going to take consistent, steady efforts to grind out three of the next five games. The Pacers are a legitimately talented team, but, at least on paper, the Raptors do have some key advantages.

Their depth really showed in game two, beating the Pacers by committee. Solid play from bench contributors like Patrick Patterson and Cory Joseph made all the difference, and George wasn't able to surmount the gap on his own. In addition, rebounding is an area in which the Raptors should be able to dominate, given Indiana's thin roster of paint protectors. As we saw in Game 2, rebounding adds up late in games when legs get tired.

Game 3 is about belief. It will take faith that winning is possible for a Toronto basketball team. It will require an attitudinal shift, away from doubt and into belief: the Raptors earned the second seed in the Eastern Conference and should triumph over the Pacers. If the players play like they are capable of playing, they will win. It's as simple as that.

To that end, it's been confirmed that Terrence Ross will be back in the Raptors lineup for Game 3. He was run through the league's concussion protocol after a collision with DeMar DeRozan in Game 2 shook him up. While he has the potential to be a difference maker for the Raptors on any given night, he can also be a psychological dead weight. Again, attitudinal shifts.

Before the game, check out Mitch Robson's preview to become a more educated and interesting person, and then share your darkest (Raptors related) fears in the comments.