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Raptors-Pacers Preview

AP - Sports

The Indiana Pacers welcomed a day off after a grueling stretch, and they will no doubt be welcoming their next opponent to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Pacers have won six straight at home over the Toronto Raptors heading into Monday night's matchup.

Playing for the fourth time in five nights and coming off an emotional victory over Oklahoma City, Indiana (34-22) looked lethargic in shooting 35.1 percent Saturday as its four-game win streak ended with an 86-72 home loss to Boston.

"Yes it was four games in five nights but we knew coming into the season the lockout would have an impact on games," said coach Frank Vogel after his club matched its season low in points. "You can't overreact or underreact in any situation."

Top scorer Danny Granger averaged 26.3 points during the four-game streak but was a different player Saturday with 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting.

"This is just a bump in the road for us, and we must put it behind us and get ready for the next game,'' Granger said. "We had several shots that could have dropped, but they didn't.''

The Pacers are in third place in the Eastern Conference, one-half game ahead of Atlanta and one game in front of Orlando.

Indiana has averaged 117.3 points during this six-game home win streak over Toronto (20-37), with Granger averaging 21.7 in those contests.

The Raptors are making their lone visit to Indiana this season after two five-point home losses to the Pacers. Indiana has displayed better balance in both of those games with five players in double figures compared to three for Toronto, which is 7-23 all-time on the road in this series.

Jose Calderon returned with a team-high 19 points Sunday after a one-game absence with an eye injury as Toronto lost its second straight, 91-75 at Oklahoma City.

Andrea Bargnani had seven points and five rebounds in 13 minutes before he missed the second half due to left calf tightness. His status for Monday is uncertain.

Bargnani has missed 21 games this season due to a calf problem that the Raptors believe has flared up again.

"He's our best scorer, he's a 7-footer and again, he had been playing excellent pick-and-roll defense for us through the last few games and losing him is huge," coach Dwane Casey said.

Casey feels the Raptors' defense continues to progress, limiting teams to 43.7 percent from the field for one of the league's better marks. Toronto has allowed opponents to shoot 39.9 percent over the last four contests, with the high-scoring Thunder held to 41.7 percent.

"I'm looking for a foundation, a defensive foundation of toughness, playing through tough stretches, not hanging your head and for the most part throughout the year, we've done that," Casey said.

The Raptors felt that Sunday's game was a physical affair, and expect a similar matchup against Indiana.

"I think we are going to run into a team that is very hungry, a team that has been playing well of late," center Jamaal Magloire said. "We have to not make any excuses. I think the key for us is hitting first and not backing down, not even for a second. "

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