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Raptors-Pacers Line, Preview, Predictions

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

The Indiana Pacers (36-22) are arguably the hottest team in the NBA. The team has won six of its last seven games, tying its league-best in that span.

It will face off against the lowly Toronto Raptors (23-35) who haven’t gotten a punch from Rudy Gay, who came over before the trade deadline. The 6-foot-8 guard is quickly becoming the Raptors leading scoring. Alongside DeMar DeRozan, the two combined for 59 points in the last two contests.

‘“Winning fixes everything,” said Gay. “This is still new to me. That’s why I get so frustrated when things happen out there. I’m still trying to figure things out. It’s definitely not easy losing. I’m not here to lose. I don’t think anybody else is here to lose.”

The Raptors are currently 1.5-point underdogs at home on Friday night with the over/under set at 185. But don’t count out Toronto just yet. The Raptors were victorious in the last two meetings and are one of only four teams in the East that have beaten them twice this season. In fact, the team snapped Indiana’s 15-game home winning streak with a 100-98 overtime thriller on Feb. 8.

The Pacers, who are currently in second place in the Central Division, may get a boost from their starting center Roy Hibbert, who is coming off his one-game suspension for his hand in Tuesday’s skirmish with Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Without him, the Pacers allowed a dreadful 50 points in the paint against the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, the worst the team has allowed all season. On average, Indiana tallied a league-best 35.3 points from the inside the box.

“Roy Hibbert makes a big difference in our team,” head coach Frank Vogel said. E”Everybody says he’s having a bad year, but he’s having a good year. We have the No. 1 defense in the league and he’s a big part of it.”

Prediction: We can’t see Indiana’s woes continuing against Toronto, who is a pedestrian 15-15 at home. They’re league average in points (98.6) will take a dip against the league’s best defense. Pacers 91, Raptors 84

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