NBA Playoffs 2016 preview: Raptors out to prove a point as they host the Pacers

Mar 17, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Toronto Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan (10) takes a shot against Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Toronto defeats Indiana 101-94 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors gets a rare chance of being in the NBA Playoffs and this year they want to prove a point and that is teams in the East must start to respect them and they will that as their motivation when they start their series playing host to the Indiana Pacers.

Nobody in the East has recognized the Raptors and their playoff chances since they finished the regular season with a decent 56-26 win-loss record. It has been 15 years since the Raptors won their only postseason series back in the 2000-2001 when they beat the New York Knicks with a 3-2 count, but they would then they could not sustain the momentum as they would lose to the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round via 4-3.

Since then, the Raptors could not seem to find the solution on how to progress into the playoff rounds as their campaign was all marred by heartbreak loss. They are coming into this season’s playoff round with a 1-7 overall playoff record and they would not want to waste the opportunity that is being presented before them.

This season, the Raptors are aiming to beat that bad omen as they will heavily rely on their defense to create offense for them. As reported by the New York Times, the Raptors will also have to make Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan click with their combination plays, as what they have done all regular season long. Not to mention the quite contributions of Jonas Valanciunas and Bismack Biyombo plus DeMarre Carroll will be back on the active roster, giving the team a healthy chance.

However, their chances of getting worthy notice will be tested when they start their series with Pacers, who are also gunning for that piece on history. The Pacers will definitely go to their Paul George-Monte Ellis duo and would test their defense against the Raptors explosive running an offense as well.

This will also test George, who suffered a major injury back in 2014 while training with the US national team that led him to miss out the entire season. George landed awkwardly at the base of a basket stanchion after fouling James Harden during a Las Vegas scrimmage and suffered a compound fracture of both bones in his lower right leg. He quickly went into surgery for the fracture, with a pin being inserted in the leg.

The Pacers are hoping that George’s mindset will not lose focus with the horrible memories of his injury and be able to a strong factor in their campaign despite their 45-37 record during the regular season. For both teams, this year’s playoffs will be a gauging point to see if they are championship caliber squad and they will be tested with Game One of the series set at 12:30 p.m. ET over at ESPN.

The Pacers will also be bringing in the Raptors beat them in the regular season with a 3-1 count.

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