The Toronto Raptors and the Indiana Pacers will face off in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Raptors had a strong regular season and were given a boost by the return of DeMarre Carrol after he missed most of the season due to injury. The Pacers are a tough gritty team with a star player in Paul George that is capable of wining a series by himself. This series may end up as the most competitive in the first round.
Point Guard- Kyle Lowry vs. George Hill
Lowry has dedicated himself to his craft, lost weight and truly become one of the best (and most underrated) point guards. He will take over a game whether the situation calls for him to go on a scoring run or set up his teammates. Hill is a true veteran; however at this point in his career he may be better suited as a backup.
Shooting Guard- Demar Derozan vs. Monta Ellis
This is a great matchup of two explosive scorers. Derozan has become one of the top 2 guards in the league and will be a sought after free agent this summer. He has worked on his perimeter shooting to match his already elite level attacking the basket game. Ellis is no stranger to the playoffs and has the ability to score points in bunches. He is a one-man fast break and his scoring will be needed for the Pacers to have a real chance at winning the series.
Small Forward- James Johnson vs. Paul George
George is an immense talent who has carries the Pacers through playoff games in the past. Late in games he is one of the few players in the league to undoubtedly create his own shot and get a good look. Johnson is the presumed starter however if Carroll shows that he is healthy enough then he will receive as many minutes a she can handle. A healthy Carroll would make life much more difficult for George
Power Forward- Luis Scola vs. Myles Turner
Scola has fit in with the Raptors since day one and provides them with veteran stability and playoff experience. Turner has been up and down this season but shows signs of potentially being an All Star in the future. Both team could potentially play “small ball” and use a perimeter player at the power forward spot.
Center- Jonas Valenciunas vs. Ian Mahini
Valenciunas is a tough cover in the low post and presents a lot of problems on the block. Mahini had a career season and is an aggressive offensive player.
BENCH- The Pacers will use Rodney Stuckey, C. J Miles, Jordan Hill, and veteran T Lawson off the bench. They all provide potential scoring however all but Miles are poor defenders. The Raptors don’t go very deep but will use Cory Joseph, Terrence Ross, Patrick Patterson as perimeter threats and Bismack Biyombo as a backup big man.
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