Two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference will face each other in back-to-back games on Wednesday and Friday night. The Indiana Pacers will travel north of the border to face the Toronto Raptors on February 5, and then these two teams will switch venues before they clash on February 7. Toronto is currently in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 36-14 record, while Indiana is 31-19 and in fifth place in the conference. The Raptors are looking to defend their NBA title in the summer, and they are the hottest team in the NBA ahead of Wednesday’s game. They have won 11 straight games to move ahead of Boston in the Atlantic Division.
This game will take place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on February 7, 2020, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
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Head-To-Head Results to Date
In an interesting scheduling quirk, these teams will square off three times in a span of three weeks. Toronto will host Indiana on February 23 after this week, and the Raptors and Pacers have only met once before this season. In that meeting, the 48 minutes wasn’t enough to decide a winner. Indiana hosted Toronto back on December 23, and the game went to overtime tied at 107. There, the Pacers emerged victorious as TJ Warren and Myles Turner each scored 24 points to knock off the defending NBA champions.
Warren might not take part in Friday’s game. He suffered a concussion over the weekend, and he sat out of Monday’s game against Dallas. Warren has been ruled out of Wednesday night’s game against Toronto, and he will be missed if he can’t suit up. He is the second-leading scorer on the Pacers, averaging 18.1 PPG. Additionally, Naz Mitrou-Long is questionable due to an ankle injury.
Toronto won’t have two players for another week. Reserve center Dewan Hernandez will be sidelined by an ankle injury, while Norman Powell is dealing with a finger issue that will keep him off the court until the end of the month. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is a game time decision due to an ankle injury, while Marc Gasol is doubtful to play because of a hamstring problem. Gasol has not been the contributor he was in past seasons though, averaging 7.8 PPG.
Player to Watch
Domantas Sabonis is proving everyone wrong. The fourth-year player has improved in each of his first four seasons in the NBA, and he has been the top offensive weapon for the Pacers this season. Sabonis leads Indiana with 18.3 PPG, and he is one of the top young rebounders in the league. The son of the great Arvydas Sabonis isn’t as great of a perimeter shooter as his farther, but he has excellent vision for a big man, dishing out 4.6 APG. He is a much better interior defender than he was earlier in his career too.
The Raptors have some quality big men to throw at Sabonis. Even if Gasol misses the game, Serge Ibaka can still rise to the occasion, and Toronto has one of the best defenders in the NBA in Pascal Siakam. Siakam has taken a massive step forward without Kawhi Leonard this season, and his emergence has helped the Raptors maintain their status in the Eastern Conference. Fortunately for the Pacers, Victor Oladipo is finally healthy once again, so Oladipo will provide some offense if Sabonis is held in check.
Indiana is 18-7 at home this season, but the Raptors are on a tear. Toronto is humming along at the midway point of the season, and I think the Raptors will get it done with Oladipo still on a minute limit.
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