TORONTO, Nov. 20 (Ticker) -- Al Harrington
scored 10 of his season-high 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Indiana Pacers ran their winning streak to eight games with a 97-95 triumph over the Toronto Raptors.
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added 20 points and Ron Mercer
chipped in 14 off the bench for the Pacers (9-1), who are off to their best start since joining the NBA in 1976.
"It was a total team effort," Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said. "We just wanted to hang around ... try to keep it close and have a chance to win at the end of the game."
The game was tied, 94-94, with 81 seconds left when Jamaal Tinsley penetrated and drew a foul. He made 1-of-2 from the line to give Indiana the lead, and the teams traded misses down the stretch.
Former Pacer Antonio Davis missed a wide-open jumper from the left baseline with four seconds left. Mercer grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made two free throws, and Toronto never got a potential tying shot.
"We came out and played as a team," Mercer said. "Everyone has a role and that's what we have to sacrifice for. ... We knew they were going to come out and play hard so we had to keep it close and play hard."
"The only team that is going to win is the one that can make stops at the end of the game and we were able to do that,"
Harrington. "We're trying not to be cocky but we feel we can win every game that we play."
Voshon Lenard scored 22 points and Alvin Williams contributed 21 for the Raptors, who lost for the first time in their last five home meetings with Indiana.
Toronto (4-7) has lost three straight overall.
"They hit some big shots," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens said. "There were a couple of times on coverage we had a couple of
little miscues and didn't get to the guy on time. They made the shot and it was tough on us."
The Raptors took a 77-72 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Pacers opened the period with a 16-8 run. Harrington had eight points in the spurt, capping the burst with an 18-footer that gave Indiana an 88-85 lead with 5:09 to go.
A 13-footer by Williams following penetration from Lenard left the game deadlocked 92-92, but Tinsley drained a 17-footer with 1:52 remaining. Morris Peterson countered with two free throws 12 seconds later, but Tinsley's free throw with 81 seconds left gave Indiana a lead it did not relinquish.
Lenard missed a three-pointer with 56 seconds to go and, after a turnover off a bad pass, Davis missed a 13-footer.
"He had a great look, he was open earlier but we went through the play and he got a wide-open shot and that's what you want,"
Wilkens added. "I'll take that shot every time."
"I thought it was good," Davis said. "If I was going to take a shot from anywhere on the floor, that is where I would want to
take that shot."
After Artest's two free throws with two seconds left, Indiana fouled immediately on the inbounds pass. Peterson made the first free throw but was whistled for a lane violation on the second attempt.
"Tonight was a tough one," Tinsley said. "We knew they would make their runs and we just wanted to stick around, knowing we
are in their building. We just wanted to get it to the fourth quarter. We held our composure down the stretch and pulled it
Jermaine Jackson, re-signed by the Raptors earlier in the day, debut and had five points in 11 minutes. Toronto used just nine players and remains without star Vince Carter, who has missed eight games with a quadriceps strain.
"I thought we deserved to win the game," Peterson said. "It's kind of tough but I think this is definitely a building block
for us that we can compete with the guys we have."