NBA Picks: Back Host Pacers To Beat Veloci-less Raptors

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, April 21, 2016 4:40 PM GMT

The Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers resume their 2016 Basketball Playoffs First Round series with Game 3 on Thursday, April 21st. Check inside for the NBA pick and analysis.

The game is scheduled for a 7:35 ET tip, as televised by NBA TV. After winning the first game (100-90), the Pacers fell victim to the Toronto bounce back with the Raptors recording a 98-87 victory to even the series. 

Must Read: Jason Lake's Preview On This Game

Toronto Raptors Preview
Indiana’s change to “small ball” had negative repercussions in the first 2 games of this series. Toronto big man, Valanciunas, has been dominant in the paint for the Raptors.

Toronto entered Monday night on a 7-game post-season losing streak. But, Valanciunas erupted with a playoff career high of 23 points. That combined with 15 rebounds, after 19 boards in the opener, despite playing less than 22 minutes with foul trouble.

As a result of his performance, the Raptors hold dominant edges in the paint in this series of 88-56 and on the boards with a 96-71 edge. In a series where Toronto guards, Lowry and DeRozan, were predicted to dominate, the 2 all-stars, who averaged over 45 PPG this season, have shot a combined 17 for 63 (only 27%).

It appears that the Pacers will have to choose the lesser of two evils (guarding the interior or guarding the perimeter) when they look to make the adjustments that will win them Game 3 on Thursday night.

Indiana Pacers Analysis
For Indiana, Paul George has picked up right where he left off as a playoff performer 2 seasons ago. After missing nearly all of last year with a gruesome leg injury, George scored 33 points in the series opener, knocking down 4/5 triples.

Though Toronto put their best defender on him in Game 2, DeMarre Carroll, an injured knee limited Carroll’s success. In Game 2, George still went off for 28 points, including 10/11 from the stripe. Read Jordan Sharp's comments on this game.

If Indiana is to bounce back for the Game 3 victory, both George and backcourt mate, George Hill, must continue their strong defensive effort on the perimeter. Most importantly, either Mahinmi or Myles Turner must do a better job holding Valanciunas. The latter is the more probable option, as Mahinmi is struggling with an injured back. 

 

Final Overview
NBA flip-flop theory is at its best in Playoff Round 1, Game 3, home teams off a loss. We will follow that strong history and believe Indiana will make the necessary adjustments and deliver us the home dog victory in this contest. I invite you to put the NBA odds in your favor and join me in my NBA pick on the Indiana Pacers tonight.

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Free NBA Pick: Indiana Pacers +1 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage