After winning a playoff series for the first time in seven seasons, the Indiana Pacers want to take the next step.
Preseason predictions that the Toronto Raptors will suffer through a fifth straight losing season have them motivated to prove the naysayers wrong.
The Pacers won all three meetings with the Raptors in 2011-12, and they'll look to make it four straight in the series in the teams' opener Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre.
Indiana went 42-24 last season for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers knocked out Orlando in the first round for their first series victory since 2005 before losing to eventual champion Miami in the conference semifinals.
With Derrick Rose injured to start the season for Central Division champion Chicago, Indiana believes it can finish even higher in 2012-13.
"From looking at a playoff standpoint, we got to the second round last year, so we're hoping to get further than that. We got a third seed in the regular season and...