It's opening night!
The Indiana Pacers face a nice challenge against the Toronto Raptors to open the NBA regular season. Not only will the Pacers have to cover for injured forward Danny Granger's absence, but they will also have to deal with a Raptors team that appears improved compared to last year.
Toronto still has young talent they need to develop, starting with guard DeMar DeRozan and center Jonas Valancuinas. But they also stabilized their backcourt with Kyle Lowry running the point guard which allows some-time Pacer killer Jose Calderon to come off the bench and do what he does best, look to score, without the burden of trying to run the team as the starting point guard.
With the 7-foot, 20-year old Valancuinas starting at center, Toronto has a big front court allowing Andrea Bargnani to play power forward. Fortunately, Bargnani seems more comfortable on the perimeter which can mitigate that size advantage, but he is also a scoring threat wherever he catches the ball.
The Pacers will start a lineup that has never played together before with George Hill joining the starters along with Gerald Green filling in for Granger. In the post, Roy Hibbert has to give Valancuinas the rookie treatment with a rude welcome to the NBA.
The season won't be won or lost on opening night, but in the competitive Eastern Conference, those 82 games will go quick and getting off to a good start to the season is imperative. No excuses.
For more on the Raptors, check out RaptorsHQ. Also, leave your thoughts and observations in the comments.
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