INDIANAPOLIS, April 2 (Ticker) -- After clinching the Central Division and the best record in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers had every reason to take a game off. They did just the opposite.

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The Pacers started with a 7-0 run, never trailed and rolled to an 84-64 victory over the reeling Toronto Raptors for their 56th win of the season.

Indiana's bench outscored its counterparts, 33-6, and defense again made the difference as it limited Toronto to less than 35 percent (26-of-75) from the field. It was the ninth wire-to-wire win of the season for the Pacers.

"I thought defensively, we had another strong effort." Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "One of our challenges going into tonight was putting together back-to-back top-notch defensive efforts."

For the fourth time this season, the Pacers held a foe to 70 points or less.

Ron Artest scored 21 points for the Pacers. Sixth Man Award candidate Al Harrington added 16 and 13 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season.

Toronto top scorers Vince Carter and Jalen Rose combined for 43 points, but the rest of the Raptors managed just 21 on 8-of-34 shooting.

"I thought it was a lethargic performance. We looked like a team that has struggled." Raptors coach Kevin O'Neill said. "I think the players have been through a lot, both mentally and physically.

"I'm a professional. It really hasn't been tough on me. The people that it's tough on is the players. I'm assuming that everyone of them thinks I'm going to be fired, based on the articles that are being written. Not knowing my future, them not knowing who they'll be playing for ... it really makes it tough for them."

The Pacers have different, more pleasant issues to worry about, like staying focused.

"It's not hard to stay focused and come out playing hard every night," Artest said. "We can't worry about winning X number of games. The coaches have told us to continue playing hard and the records will take care of themselves."

With the game well in hand from the beginning, Indiana was able to rest some of its starters. All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal played just 18 minutes, scoring eight points.

"It's good to know I can sit out and the team can still play like this," he said. "It's a bit frustrating. ... You always want to play, but you have to look at the big picture. We have a big game coming up with Detroit."

Sunday's road game against the Pistons is the stiffest remaining test for the Pacers. It also is the first meeting between the clubs since Detroit traded for Rasheed Wallace.

"Charles Barkley said it best: The game will be like a Hagler-Hearns fight," O'Neal said. "I think that's a good description. I'm sure Rasheed will show up for this game and try to send a message. This could be a statement-type game."

Toronto (30-45) fell four games behind eighth-place Boston in the East with just seven to play.