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Raptors search for first home win of the season vs Pacers

The Toronto Raptors will host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The Raptors have yet to record a win in any of their three home games this season.

The last time the Raptors won a regular season game in Toronto was February 23rd, 2020 against none other than the Pacers. The Raptors won that game by a final score of 127-81 to improve to 42-15 on the year. A lot has changed since.

Raptors come off hard-fought loss to Bulls

The 1-3 Raptors are fresh off a tough loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. OG Anunoby’s 22 points and Fred Vanvleet’s 17 assists were not quite enough to complete the comeback as the Raptors, who trailed by as many as 20 in the third quarter, came up just short. Vanvleet missed a potential game-tying three at the buzzer as the Bulls improved to a perfect 4-0 on the year.

Despite the teams’ tough start, the Raptors do have a couple of real positives to build on moving forward. Rookie Scottie Barnes has been excellent through four games. The 20-year-old is averaging 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds on 56.0% shooting in four games this season. Defensively, the Raptors have been among the best teams in the NBA, recording a 99.7 defensive rating. Finally, their lone road game of the early season saw the team put together a very impressive 115-83 blow out win in Boston against their divisional rivals.

Pacers look for second win of the season amidst tough early schedule

Indiana also sits at 1-3 coming into Wednesday night’s matchup. The Pacers have been victims of a difficult early-season schedule. They have been matched up against four of the Eastern Conference’s top six teams who now have a combined record of 10-4. To their credit, among their three losses have been a one-point loss, an overtime game and meeting with the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. Their lone win came against the Miami Heat on Saturday in overtime.

Players to watch

Keep an eye on Vanvleet in this one. The sixth-year Raptors guard has taken on a new role this season with Kyle Lowry departing to Miami. For the first time in his career, Vanvleet is the head of the locker room and one of the team’s primary offensive weapons. However, it has been a shaky start to the season for the 27-year-old.

Vanvleet is averaging 14.5 points per game on just 36.7% shooting and 22.2% from deep. He is dishing out 8.8 assists per game, but also 4.5 turnovers including 8 on Monday night. However, he did provide a huge spark in the fourth quarter helping fuel the Raptors’ near-comeback against Chicago, while dishing out a career-high 17 assists.

Vanvleet needs to improve his efficiency, and he understands that, but it may take him some time to adjust to new teammates and a new role with the team.

“I don’t care about [the 17 assists]. I couldn’t believe I had eight turnovers. … I gotta look at the film and see how I can be better.” Vanvleet said Tuesday.

Fred Vanvleet Props:

Points: 17.5 (Over: 1.71 | Under: 1.86)

Rebounds: 3.5 (Over: 1.48) | Under: 2.25)

Assists: 7.5 (Over: 1.83 | Under: 1.76)

Threes-made: 2.5 (Over: 1.86 | Under: 1.71)

Points + Rebounds + Assists: 29.5 (Over: 1.74 | Under: 1.86)

A player to watch on the other side is Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis. The 25-year-old big man has put together a phenomenal start to the 2021-22 campaign. In four games, Sabonis has put up 24.8 points, 12.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game on an amazing 62.9% shooting and 40.0% from three-point range.

Domantas Sabonis Props:

Points: 20.5 (Over: 1.76 | Under: 1.80)

Rebounds: 12.5 (Over: 1.95) | Under: 1.64)

Assists: 5.5 (Over: 1.62 | Under: 1.95)

Points + Rebounds + Assists: 39.5 (Over: 1.90 | Under: 1.68)

Game Odds

The Pacers are listed as one-point favorites.

Spread: Pacers (-1) 1.90 | Raptors (+1) 1.95

Money Line: Pacers 1.86 | Raptors 2.00

Over/Under: Over (217.5) 2.00 | Under (217.5) 1.86

Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET.