There will likely be a more serious tone Wednesday night in Toronto following a controversial end to the 2010-11 series between these clubs.
Playing their first game since the interim tag was removed from coach Frank Vogel, the Pacers defeated Detroit 91-79 on Monday. Indiana shot just 36.8 percent from the field, but it scored 14 second-chance points and held a 53-40 rebounding edge.
“We have the ability to crash the boards,” Danny Granger said after scoring 16 points on 6-of-18 shooting. “I think our big guys did an excellent job of dominating the glass, on the offensive end also. We didn’t give up too many offensive rebounds (nine). When they can dominate the glass like that, it’s going to be hard to beat us.”
The Pacers grabbed 20 more rebounds than the Raptors in two home wins last season, including a 56-38 edge in a 104-93 victory Jan. 31 in Vogel’s first game after replacing the fired Jim O’Brien. However, they were outrebounded 46-34 in a 108-98 loss at Toronto on March 11 in the final meeting.
Losing a sixth consecutive game overall probably added to its frustration, but Indiana was angered that Raptors guard Leandro Barbosa tried to add to his season-high 29-point effort with a drive to the basket - instead of dribbling out the clock - with six seconds left.
Toronto argued that it was payback for Pacers point guard Darren Collison hitting a long 3-pointer as time expired in the Jan. 31 matchup.
“If I was on him, I would have took (Barbosa’s) head off and I would have been suspended for a game for a flagrant foul,” said Granger, who led with Pacers with 19.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in the season series. “Stuff like that will sit in the back of your head the next time we play Toronto. We don’t play them again but if I was on him, I would have taken his neck off.”
The Pacers, though, have far more to be concerned about than Barbosa after the Raptors shot 53.2 percent and had seven players score in double figures in Monday’s 104-96 win at Cleveland.
“It’s one game,” coach Dwane Casey said following his Toronto debut. “I don’t want to get too excited on wins and I don’t want to get too upset on losses. There are 65 more games.”
Still, Casey has to be excited about the play of his talented backcourt. DeMar DeRozan scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, while point guard Jose Calderon added 15 with 11 assists. Barbosa added 14 points off the bench.
The Raptors, who open a three-game trip Friday against Dallas, went 16-25 at home last season.
The Pacers finished 13-28 away from home in 2010-11 and have lost five straight in Toronto.
The home team has won the last 11 times these teams have met.