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Pacers Links: March Madness continues for Pacers with Raptors in town

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The Pacers find themselves in the middle of a jumbled Eastern Conference playoff race as the prepare to host the Raptors on Thursday.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA basketball tournament tips off on Thursday but the Pacers have already started their own brand of March Madness as they bump fenders with several Eastern Conference foes battling for playoff position.

After a disappointing February ended with a 6-7 record, the Pacers are already 5-2 in March with eight games remaining. Seven of those eight games to close out the month are at Bankers Life Fieldhouse starting with the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night. The Pacers beat the Raptors in their last visit to the 'House in mid-December but the visitors are always a tough matchup for the Pacers regardless of which side of the border they play.

A big win over Toronto would give the Pacers a boost in the playoff race as they look to move up but as you can see from the current standings, stringing together wins or losses can quickly change things since the Pacers are 2.5 games out of fourth place AND ninth place. Actually, there is no ninth place, instead that's considered the lottery, so yeah, the playoffs are underway in March.

ECStandings

I touched on this topic and more on The Phil Naessens Show this week. Are the Raptors easing off the gas? Will that benefit the Pacers tonight?

Check out the links:

Game Preview: Pacers vs Raptors | Indiana Pacers

Pacers' Bench Becoming Crowded – and Effective | Indiana Pacers

Pacers’ Hickory branding exceeds expectations

Raptors will lean on their bench down the stretch | NBA | Raptors | Sports | Tor

Raptors' Powell: I'm ready for larger role, playoff run - Sportsnet.ca

Indiana Pacers gunning for playoff seeding while Toronto Raptors might ease back | FOX Sports

Raptors-Pacers Preview - AP

Raptors by the numbers: Evaluating potential playoff opponents | Eh Game - Yahoo Sports

Pacers Assign Whittington To Mad Ants | Indiana Pacers

Dallas Mavericks: Sefko: Even Cuban says Mavs would be better with Monta Ellis, but here's why he's gone | SportsDay