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Raptors vs. Pacers: Testing the beta version of a playoff series

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"Is the regular season still going?" You bet, and the Raptors host the Pacers tonight in the last semi-meaningful game of the campaign.

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It's come to the last week of the regular season and I'm trying to care, I really am. Last night, I settled in to fight the apathy and watch a double-header of Raptors/Hawks and Warriors/Spurs. However, apart from some warm fuzzies at seeing DeMarre Carroll on the court, stealing basketballs and doing DeMarre stuff, my heart just wasn't into it. I went to bed early like a fake fan. I've become everything I hate.

In that vein, here we are on the second night of a back-to-back, with the Raptors taking on the almost certainly playoff-bound Indiana Pacers. It's between the Pacers and Detroit Pistons for who draws the Raptors in the first round, so think of tonight as a playoff series' beta version.

There's going to be weird bugs: Toronto will likely play a deep, strange rotation with Bebe Nogueira again, Indiana will give a stronger effort, etc. Much like a beta version, only the nerds will actually be participating -- trying to find seams in the code in an ultimately meaningless effort. All you can expect to learn from a game like this is whether Norman Powell is indeed awesome (he is) and whether anyone will get hurt (god help us all). Also, maybe Carroll will spend some time guarding Paul George? That was entertaining back in November, wasn't it?

Ah well. We shall continue to march toward season's end, testing the beta version of Pacers/Raptors in the comments section. Read Stephen Campbell's preview and prepare your knowledge accordingly.