The in-your-face defense that defines their home court play has made it difficult for the Raptors to get in rhythm. And without Leonard, you’ll see more grabs, pushes, tugs and everything else under the moon to gain that advantage. The Raptors and Pacers have had chippy games with their share of drama. The first match-up between them this season ended in drama, as OG Anunoby got away with a foul on a game-tying attempt from Bogdanovic. As you may remember back in 2017 when Lance Stephenson angered the Raptors going for a layup with the game already decided. Recently however, Raptors seemed to have overcome it.
But let’s give Indiana some credit. The Pacers have had a great season overall with Myles Turner showing strong improvement defensively and putting himself in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year. Nate McMillan has guided the team to a 31-15 record — on pace to improve from their 48 win total last season — and continuously proving last year wasn’t an anomaly. But it’s something about these Raptors.
Twice this season before playing the Raptors they were playing great ball. The 8 games before the Dec. 19 contest they were 7-1. Then they lost on said missed call. Before facing Toronto again on Jan. 6, they rattled off a six game win streak. Then they lost (although they were without Myles Turner) to a Raptor team coming back from a 3 game road trip and on a second night of a back-to-back. The Raptors have won five in a row and 13 of the past 16. Simply put, Toronto has their number. Can the Raptors keep it going without Kawhi in Indiana?
Here are the details for tonight's game.
Where to Watch:
TSN, 7:00 PM EST
Toronto – Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka
Indiana – Darren Collison, Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Myles Turner
Toronto - Jonas Valanciunas (thumb - OUT), Kawhi Leonard (load management - OUT), OG Anunoby (Personal – OUT)
Indiana – none
More Back-to-Backs Please
The Raptors are 7-1 in the second game of a back-to-back. With wins over the Warriors, Jazz, Sixers, Bulls, Hawks, Wizards, and… Indiana. With the Raptors heading to Houston on Friday to play the one-man wrecking crew of the Rockets, they should look to start their 3 game road trip with a bang.
With Kawhi still not back due to load management, Raptors are without their top guy. It’s nothing new to Toronto though as Kawhi has yet to play both games of a back-to-back. Toronto is 11-2 without Leonard and have shown to pick up the offense in his absence. Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet have been playing well and have shown to be Pacer killers in the past.
Myles is Turning the Corner
Myles is having himself a season. The 4th year big from Texas has always shown potential as a mobile big who could block shots and stretch the floor. It seems he’s finally put it together this season. Turner is averaging a career high in blocks per game at 2.8, which is good for first in the league.
In his first game back from injury against the Suns, Turner finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks on 7-11 shooting. In the 120-95 win against Charlotte, he finished with 16 rebounds and 3 blocks, while hitting 3-5 from deep. When we saw Myles as a rookie in the 2016 playoffs he was showing flashes, but now its there. As a basketball fan, I’m glad to see him finally putting it together.
C.J. Miles… is Back?
After playing a grand total of 14 minutes in the first two and half weeks of 2019, C.J. Miles has came back with a vengeance. In the last 3 games, Miles has scored 13, 13, and 15 points shooting 9/16 from deep. He also picked it up on the defensive end, with a 5 steal performance against the Phoenix Suns.
It’s no coincidence C.J. has been able to get on the floor due to the absence of OG Anunoby (personal) and Kawhi Leonard (load management). His past three games he’s averaged about 17 minutes a game, which has helped him get his rhythm. Like how the Lowry injury gave Norman Powell extended run, these uncontested minutes will help Miles get his confidence back and add another important shooter back into the lineup.