|GAME STATS||FAN BLOG||PHOTO GALLERY||
By Conrad Brunner
The Pacers used a 12-3 run late in the fourth quarter to trim a 15-point deficit to six but the Raptors held on for a 108-98 victory Friday before 14,726 in Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Danny Granger bounced back with 25 points and Tyler Hansbrough scored 20, but the Pacers couldn't come up with enough stops or defensive rebounds to complete the comeback.
Leandro Barbosa scored a game-high 29 points in 26 minutes off the bench but angered the Pacers when, rather than running out the clock on the Raptors' final possession, he attempted (and missed) a layup. Barbosa had to run a gauntlet of angry Indiana players after the final horn sounded.
The Pacers dropped their sixth in a row to fall to 27-38 overall, 10-23 on the road. They're 10-11 under interim coach Frank Vogel and slipped 11 games under .500 for the first time this season. They also fell into a tie for eighth in the East with Charlotte, which beat Portland 97-92 Wednesday night. Toronto snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 18-47 overall, 13-21 at home.
- "I was proud of our guys' effort to fight back in the game. We didn't defend well enough, we didn't rebound well enough, Barbosa got off and he was the difference in the game." -- Vogel
- "Defense let us down and when we did get stops we didn't rebound the ball. We've got to do better in those two areas." -- Vogel
- "(Hansbrough)'s progressing very well and he still has a long way to go. He's playing well but his ceiling his high. When you play as hard as that kid does, you're still making a lot of the mistakes young players make, he starts cleaning all that up then we're going to be a really good basketball team." -- Vogel
- "I'm not even thinking about next season, obviously. I'm thinking about getting in the playoffs and we're playing the guys we think give us the best chance to get in the playoffs and that's a lot of young guys." -- Vogel
- "I can't figure (the slow starts) out, to be honest with you. It's just something that we have to take upon ourselves, to come out and have better starts and be prepared better. You can look at defensive rotations, getting back in transition, picking up people, finding shooters, different things like that. It starts with us though, I can tell you that. We didn't get our jobs done from the get-go." -- Hansbrough
STAT OF THE GAME
In scoring at least 20 in each of his last three games, Hansbrough has averaged 22.3 points and 7.7 rebounds while making 24-of-41 shots (.585).
Another slow start ultimately doomed the Pacers. They yielded 32 points to the Raptors in the first quarter and 62 points on 61 percent shooting in the first half as Indiana trailed by 14 at the break.
With Darren Collison scoring nine in the third quarter, the Pacers began chipping away, getting as close as 74-67 on a Collison drive late in the period. But the Raptors answered with seven in a row to push the lead to 81-67.
Toronto, which blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead and lost to Utah in its last game, might've felt a sense of dj vu when the Pacers trimmed a 97-82 deficit to 100-94 as Granger and Paul George hit 3-pointers and Josh McRoberts scored four in the 12-3 run.
It was 104-98 with 1:15 left when the Pacers got a potentially critical stop, forcing a rainbow three that Barbosa missed with 52 seconds left but the long rebound deflected to Toronto's Andrea Bargnani, giving the home team a critical extra possession.
It paid huge dividends when Jose Calderon drove for the clinching bucket with 30.8 seconds remaining.
BY THE NUMBERS
Granger shot 7-of-17, including 3-of-5 from the arc, adding seven rebounds and two steals to his 25 points. Hansbrough was 7-of-15 with seven rebounds along with his 20. Collison finished with 13 points, seven assists and two steals and George scored 10 with seven rebounds. The Pacers shot 7-of-15 from the 3-point line and had more assists (18) than turnovers (14) but were outrebounded 46-34. Indiana's bench was outscored 46-26.
Barbosa, who scored 18 points in 11 minutes in the first half, wound up 12-of-21 overall for his season-high 29. DeMar DeRozn had 16, Calderon 13 with eight assists and James Johnson 13 in 6-of-6 shooting, all in the first half. Ed Davis had 12 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. The Raptors shot 53.1 percent and had 25 assists.
- In five career trips to Toronto, the team that originally drafted him at No. 17 in 2008, Roy Hibbert has totaled 29 points (5.8) and 11 rebounds (2.2) and the Pacers have gone 0-5.
- The Pacers are 0-8 against their opponents in the next five games: New York twice, Boston, Chicago and Memphis.
- Indiana has been outscored 184-138 in the first quarter of the last six games, with opponents averaging 30.7 points in the opening frame.
- The Pacers have yielded at least 60 points in the first half in five of the last six games.
- Jeff Foster, who missed two games with a sore back, returned and played 14 minutes.
- McRoberts returned after sitting the final three quarters of Wednesday's loss in Minnesota with a sore ankle.
- The Raptors were without starting power forward Amir Johnson (sprained left ankle).
- Bargnani, Toronto's leading scorer, shot 1-of-13.
The Pacers open a stretch of five consecutive games against teams currently in playoff position Sunday when they face the Knicks in New York (6 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM).