Records: Pacers (20-11), Raptors (23-9)
Where to Watch
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018
Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: TSN Network
Radio: TSN 1050
Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
If it wasn't for Larry Nance Jr.'s game-winning tip-in, the Pacers would be heading to Toronto to face the league's best team riding an 8-game winning streak.
Nonetheless, they're still a team that has been among the league's hottest over the past couple of weeks. Since Dec. 5, Indiana has gone 7-1 in their eight games. Five of those seven wins have come without their All-Star Victor Oladipo.
Oladipo took a couple of games to get his step back - no pun intended, but the team picked up wins during those games against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers. Over the two-week stretch, their offensive rating is ranked at 15th (108.8) but their league-best defence - 98.3 has helped them have the third-best net rating (10.5).
Indiana has everything a team wants right now - health and a deep roster which is playing a huge role in their season so far. Their bench averages 10.2 assists per game (2nd best), has the best net rating in the league.
While the Pacers have been trending up in the past couple of weeks, the Raptors have been heading in the other direction. The Toronto franchise went 20-4 in their first 24 games but since then have won just three of their eight games.
The silver lining may be the combined loss margin which is just a total of 24 points - proving you have to beat the Raptors, they won't just beat themselves.
To put simply, the Raptors haven't been themselves over the past couple of games - injuries, travel and a slumping Kyle Lowry is too blame. They've had two days off to get right since returning from the western swing help, is that enough to get them back on track?
Update: Raptors will be without Serge Ibaka, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas in tonight's game. Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Norm Powell are in.
Canadian Cory Joesph makes his first of two appearances in Toronto on Wednesday.
Joseph who's in a contract year is averaging 10.2 points, 5.4 assists and 1.7 steals per 36 minutes.
Indiana will have plenty of cap room to try and re-sign Joseph in the off-season as they only currently have four contracts on the books for next year, whether or not Joseph will be back in Indiana remains to be seen, but he will be a wanted commodity on the market as he provides a steadiness off the bench and can fit into most systems in the league.
Many Canadian hoop fans are hoping that Joseph also suits up for team Canada this summer at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in August.
- This will be the Pacers' sixth back-to-back this season and so far, they are 5-0 on the second night of a back-to-back.
- The Raptors' will host a team in Toronto for the 16th time this season and their home record reads 11-4 so far. Meanwhile, Indiana has an above average road record of 9-6.
- The Raptors will definitely miss Jonas Valanciunas, who is recovering from a dislocated thumb. Toronto also has four players who are game-time decisions - Kyle Lowry (Thigh), Pascal Siakam (Back), Serge Ibaka (Knee), and Fred VanVleet (Back).
Last Time They Played
Date: Apr. 7, 2018
Score: Pacers 73, Raptors 92
Pacers: Trevor Booker - 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 steal
Raptors: Serge Ibaka - 25 points and 8 rebounds on 76.9% shooting