It’s Simple: The Raptors Need Their Stars To Show Up
The Pacers were the sole road team to win a Game 1 over the opening weekend of the 2016 NBA Playoffs. The Raptors have now lost home playoff openers in three consecutive seasons, and dropped to 0-8 in the first game of an opening-round playoff series. This was the seventh-straight playoff defeat for the Raptors, who were swept out of the first round last year after losing the final two games of a seven-game series to Brooklyn the year before.
The Pacers did a good job defending DeMar DeRozan in Game 1, limiting him to 14 points in the game, more than 9 points below his points-per-game average during the regular season. Paul George spent the most time defending DeRozan, accounting for 8:52 of DeRozan’s time on-court.
Conversely, the Raptors were unable to stop Paul George, allowing him to put 33 points on the board in the series opener. DeRozan was George’s primary defender, covering him for 7:24 and holding him to 7 points. George was able to take advantage of being defended by DeMarre Carroll, netting 11 points against him, with an average of 2.2 points-per-possession.
As was the case in the regular season, the Raptors placed heavy emphasis on driving to the basket. However, they were not met with as much success as they saw in the regular season. Rookie backup PF Myles Turner blocked five shots in Game 1 and Indiana had eight overall. Toronto backup PG Cory Joseph was superb in Game 1 with 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.
The Raptors were dominant when it came to rebounds in Game 1, especially when contested by an opposing player. Jonas Valanciunas had more contested rebounds and overall rebounds than any other player in the game.
Kyle Lowry scored 11 points, shooting 1-for-7 from the 3-point line, missing five free throws and committing six turnovers. In their past three Game 1s, Lowry and DeRozan have combined to make 32.6 percent of their shots against the Nets, 26.7 percent of their shots against the Wizards and 25 percent of their shots against the Pacers. The Raptors will only go as far as these two lead them.