Matchup: Indiana Pacers vs Toronto Raptors
Records: Pacers (26-12), Raptors (29-12)
Where to Watch
Date: Monday, Jan. 7
Time: 6:00 AM IST
TV: Sony Ten1
Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Over the past month, since Dec. 4 to be precise, the Indiana Pacers have only lost two games of the 15 they have played.
Easily the best record over that time span, the Pacers rank ahead of early season Conference Finals favorites in both the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers. Quietly, they have put together the league's 2nd-best defense (102.5), which allows them to boast off about the league's second-best net rating (6.3) despite having a sub-par offense (108.8 - 16th).
Other than the huge momentum they are carrying, the Pacers would also want to avenge their previous loss in Toronto on Dec. 20. It was a rather controversial loss with a missed call but nonetheless, it was Indiana that squandered a 17-point lead, so they would want to make amends on this trip up north.
Attempting to win in Toronto against the Raptors would mean that Indiana is also going up against some history. The Pacers have dropped their last ten regular season games in Canada, with their last win coming on March 1, 2013.
Coming to the Raptors, it's been a rough past month. They've gone from 20-4 to 29-12, largely in part to injuries to Kyle Lowry (back) and the occasional games missed by Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka.
They've even dropped the one seed in the process, second in the league only by 0.5 games to the Milwaukee Bucks. A win in this clash against the Pacers should push the Raptors back to the top seed in the league.
Despite Nick Nurse's comments that Kawhi Leonard would start playing in back-to-back's, Leonard has been ruled OUT for tonight's contest.
The Raptors have played 19 of their 40 games at home and have gone 15-4 in those previous 19 encounters.
Meanwhile, the Pacers, who have played an equal number of games at home and on the road, have gone 12-7 in their 19 road games so far.
This is Toronto's seventh back-to-back this season and they have gone 5-1 so far on the second game of those back-to-backs.
At the time of writing, the Pacers' Myles Turner (shoulder) is questionable and Ike Anigbogu (knee) is reportedly out.
- On the other hand, the Raptors will surely miss center Jonas Valanciunas (Thumb). The team's point guard Kyle Lowry is said to be a game-time decision for this clash.
Last Time They Played
Date: Dec. 20, 2018
Score: Pacers 96-99 Raptors
Pacers: Myles Turner - 10 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks.
Raptors: Kawhi Leonard - 28 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals.