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NBA Playoffs Links: Pacers start working referees in advance of Game 1 against Raptors

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The Pacers have plenty of experience dealing with the ups and downs of officiating in the NBA playoffs, so they wasted little time working the officials for an advantage prior to their first round series against the Raptors.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers allowed their opponents just over 23 free throws per game throughout the season, but the Raptors averaged over 34 FTAs in their three real games against the Pacers.

Toronto's style of play, led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, makes it tough on the defense to avoid contact. By attacking the lane, they force defensive rotations which naturally leads to a reach or bump when the rotation is even a half-step late.

Those foul shots were a topic for discussion with the Pacers on their first day of preparation for Game 1 and they were able to use their playoff experience to make fouls an issue in the media before the game. In the grand tradition of Phil Jackson and Pat Riley, Frank Vogel avoided direct, fine-worthy comments by instead explaining how he expects his team to play, which also sends the subtle message about how he expects the game to be called.

Paul George took a similar approach, talking about what they needed to do, but also slipped in a reminder that playoff fouls are different than regular season fouls with an indirect plea to the refs to make sure fouls are legit. Candace Buckner shared the transcript of these quotes here.

The schedule says Game 1 tips off on Saturday at 12:30 p.m ET, but for the Pacers, the game is already underway.

Check out the links:

Game Preview: Pacers at Raptors (Game 1) | Indiana Pacers

Pacers could use a hand (or not) against Toronto

Pacers Need To Keep Hands To Themselves | Indiana Pacers

Hill Finds and Fills Another Role | Indiana Pacers

NBA playoff bracket 2016

NBA PM: One on One With Myles Turner | Basketball Insiders | NBA Rumors And Basketball News

Poll: What's your prediction for Raptors vs. Pacers in the first round? - Raptors HQ

The Raptors are playing Game 1 early, and that's okay - Raptors HQ

BDL's 2015-16 NBA Playoff Previews: Toronto Raptors vs. Indiana Pacers | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoffs Preview: Raptors vs. Pacers - numberFire

Dinos & Digits: Who made team history this year? - Raptors HQ

First-round playoff exit would be a massive setback for Toronto Raptors, even if they won’t admit it | National Post

How the Raptors-Pacers series will play out; Spoiler Alert: It's good for Toronto | Toronto Star

NBA Playoffs Preview: Expect Raptors to be tested early by Pacers - CBSSports.com

Toronto Raptors playoff preview: Story line, key matchups and schedule | Globalnews.ca