Raptors Look To Even Series After Lousy Performance vs. Pacers

Monday, April 18, 2016 12:00 PM GMT

As expected, the NBA odds for Game 2 of the Pacers-Raptors series are the same as they where they ended up for Game 1. The Raptors better not play the same, though.

It was only Game 1. But this is the Toronto Raptors we're talking about, so naturally, doom and gloom surround the team after they lost their first-round opener 100-90 to the Indiana Pacers (+7 away on the closing line). Just like the Raptors lost Game 1 to the Washington Wizards (+4 away) last year, and to the Brooklyn Nets (+3.5 away) the year before that.


So why do the NBA odds have Toronto laying the same seven points for Game 2 this Monday (7:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV)? Because the same two teams will be playing. There weren't any injuries of note from Saturday's opener, and besides, the performance the Raptors gave in Game 1 isn't likely to be reproduced on Monday.


Myles Standish Proud
It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to see what happened in Game 1: Kyle Lowry (22.1 PER, +6.8 BPM) shot 3-of-13, and DeMar DeRozan (21.5 PER, +1.4 BPM) shot 5-of-19. Even an average day from those two would have given Toronto a convincing victory. As a team, the Raps were 4-of-19 from downtown, while the Pacers were 11-of-21. That's the way the ball bounces.

Some credit has to go to the Pacers, though. Indiana isn't just a sitting duck in this series; this team finished third overall in defensive efficiency during the regular season, allowing just 100.2 points per 100 possessions. The Pacers also have, in our humble estimation, the better head coach in Frank Vogel. He massaged the refs before the game – no, not literally. And he's wisely got Myles Turner (15.4 PER, –2.3 BPM) coming off the bench at power forward behind Lavoy Allen (12.4 PER, –0.6 BPM).

Casey, Finnegan and Me
Dwane Casey has made big strides as a head coach in his five years with the Raptors. But he still makes, shall we say, interesting decisions when it comes to his substitution patterns. Even with Lowry and DeRozan struggling, Toronto was still winning Game 1 until Paul George (20.9 PER, +4.6 BPM) starting lighting it up for the Pacers in the third quarter. Most of that damage was done with DeRozan (–1.2 DBPM) on defense.

Expect different things in Game 2. Word has it that Casey will be tightening his rotation, so if we're reading the tea leaves correctly, DeMarre Carroll (11.9 PER, +0.2 BPM) is likely to get more burn defending George on Monday after putting in 19 minutes off the bench in the opener. And in theory, Jonas Valanciunas (22.6 PER, +1.1 BPM) will have more opportunity to dominate Indiana's frontline, as he did in Game 1 before accumulating one too many ticky-tack fouls. We're going to use the old zigzag gambit and stick with the Raptors for our NBA picks, at least for one more game. May the sphere be with you.

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Free NBA Pick: Raptors -7 -105
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Jason's record as of April 16: 33-37-1 ATS, 6-3-1 Total