Nov. 13, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) goes up for a shot in the lane against Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (50) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Toronto defeats Indiana 74-72. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Indiana Pacers (31-19) vs. Toronto Raptors (17-32)

Life won’t get any easier for the Toronto Raptors. Losers of two straight following an emphatic win over the Los Angeles Clippers, the squad marches into Indiana to play the red-hot Pacers, who have won five straight games.

Feb 06, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Indiana Pacers guard George Hill (3) during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Pacers defeated the Sixers 88-69. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers have been absolutely dominant at home, winning 15 straight in the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, including two against the defending champion Miami Heat. Paul George leads a Pacers team that is allowing just 90 points per game, the best defensive mark in the league. George has come into his own in the absence of star Danny Granger, averaging 18 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals a game, while shooting 39% from downtown.

The Raptors do happen to have an All-Star (well, All-Star Weekend participant) in their midst. Rookie Terrence Ross will be competing in the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest alongside Pacer Gerald Green. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that this has the markings of a classic contest.

Another bright spot is that Toronto is, surprisingly, one of the three teams to have beaten the Pacers in Indiana. That victory came all the way back in November, and was the Raps’ second W of the season at the time. Jose Calderon had a triple-double and Toronto held the Pacers to just 72 points (despite scoring just five themselves in the fourth quarter).

Rudy Gay will to look to carry the offense once more against an elite opponent. Gay is averaging 25 points per game as a Raptor thus far.


Casey Sherman is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

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