Game Rewind: Pacers 106, Raptors 90
Other than the first six minutes, the Pacers were utterly dominant on Monday night. Despite falling into an early 21-point hole, the Pacers (14-9) quickly righted the ship and cruised to a 106-90 victory over the Toronto Raptors (16-10).
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a stranger start to an NBA game than what transpired on Monday.
Although they were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Raptors were red-hot coming out of the gates. The visitors connected on 10 of their first 12 shots, including their first four 3-point attempts. The Pacers, meanwhile, started 2-for-10 and committed four early turnovers. Just six minutes into the game, Indiana trailed 26-5.
But fortune proved to be a fickle mistress. Rodney Stuckey knocked down a jumper on the Pacers’ next possession, the start of what would end up being a 22-0 run for the Blue & Gold. Indiana locked down on the defensive end and found success attacking the basket, scoring 12 points in the paint in the first quarter.
“It was kind of scary at first,” Pacers guard Monta Ellis said about the Pacers’ start. “But we got some defensive stops and turned it around.”
Added Pacers head coach Frank Vogel: “It’s the NBA, crazy things happen. But that was pretty bizarre. The NBA is full of big swings, (but) maybe not to this level.”
The Pacers actually retook the lead on Paul George’s 3-pointer with 36.8 seconds left in the period before Raptors forward Terrence Ross finally knocked down a jumper to break Toronto’s scoring slump.
Indiana seized control at the start of the second quarter, reeling off 10 straight points and 16 of 18 to open up a double-digit lead, which they kept for the remainder of the half.
In fact, Toronto never got within two possessions for the rest of the game, as the Blue & Gold built their lead to as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter.
“We just buckled down, got a couple stops and got a couple baskets to get ourselves going,” C.J. Miles said. “…and then we just kept our foot on the gas. Guys kept playing defense.”
The Pacers’ bench gave the team a big lift, outscoring Toronto’s reserves on the evening, 47-27. Jordan Hill was a force in the paint, collecting his fourth double-double of the season with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Sixth man Stuckey chipped in 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
“Jordan’s capable of doing that every night, coming in and getting a double-double,” Stuckey said. “He’s a helluva player. He can pick and pop or get down in the post and score the ball, too.”
Three starters joined Hill and Stuckey in double figures on the night. Ellis spearheaded the Pacers’ efforts attacking the rim, tallying 18 points. C.J. Miles (17 points) and Paul George (16 points) provided balance with their long-range shooting, going a combined 9-for-13 from 3-point range (Miles was a perfect 5-for-5).
The Raptors’ All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan each scored 20 points in the loss.
The Pacers return to the court on Wednesday night, when they welcome Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks to The Fieldhouse for the second game of a three-game homestand. Wednesday’s contest is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 PM ET.
Inside the Numbers
The Raptors started the game 10-for-12, but only made 19 of their next 69 shots (28.4 percent) the rest of the way.
Hill matched his season high with 20 points and set a new season high with 13 rebounds. Indiana is now 4-0 when he records a double-double and 8-3 when he scores in double figures.
Lavoy Allen excelled playing alongside Hill in the Pacers’ frontcourt, tallying eight points, 10 rebounds (five offensive), and four assists in 29:41 off the bench.
The uneven start to Wednesday’s contest created some goofy plus/minus numbers for the Pacers. The team’s reserves posted exceptional numbers: Stuckey finished the night at a jaw-dropping +42, Allen was +38, and Hill was +27.
You Can Quote Me On That
“Clearly the big lineup was much better tonight. Lavoy (Allen) and Jordan (Hill) did a great job creating extra possessions on the offensive end.” -Vogel
“In practice we always work on finishing at the rim, getting fouls and everything. We just went out and played hard and continued to go to the basket. They couldn’t stop us and it worked well.” -Hill
“My main focus is trying to be consistent and bring that same play every night. I’m getting the feel, I’m getting my legs underneath me, my body feels a lot better. We’re headed in the right direction with my strength and conditioning. Everything’s starting to come together.” -Ellis
“We started out playing the right way – with force, we were assertive and decisive. Then we relaxed and that’s what happens.” -Raptors head coach Dwane Casey
“We couldn’t get stops, we couldn’t score and we couldn’t get any energy going. It was one of those games where it seems like no matter what you do, (you) keep fighting and nothing happens.” -DeRozan
by Wheat Hotchkiss