Friday, November 8th, 2013 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 91, Raptors 84
Scott Agness | November 8, 2013
The Toronto Raptors (2-4) made their first trek of the season to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday night. Knowing what they did in Indy last year, stealing both games by two points each, a reminder was one of the first things the Pacers addressed. The Pacers trailed at half for the fifth time in their first six games, but they exploded in the third quarter and went on to defeat the Raptors, 91-84.
With another victory, the Pacers are now 6-0 for the first time since the 1971-72 season—back in the ABA days.
Pacers point guard George Hill returned to the court Friday, and the starting lineup, after sitting out the previous three games due to a sore left hip. The night also marked the return of Tyler Hansbrough, who played his first four NBA seasons with the Pacers, along with D.J. Augustin. The former entered the game for the first time with a smattering of cheers and boos.
The opening quarter was back and forth, featuring seven ties and four lead changes. Indiana’s league-leading defense wasn’t its traditional self in the early going, allowing the Raptors to shoot 57 percent and score nine points in transition. Rudy Gay scored 14 of his 30 points and helped the Raptors take a double digit lead at the end of the first, by way of a 14-4 spurt.
Lance Stephenson, who fell to the floor in pain during the first quarter, returned to start the second period but 24 seconds in, he requested out. He went back to the locker room and later described the injury as a nerve near his left leg being hit, which shocked his left leg. Stephenson, who was limited to four points and four assists, went through warmups at the half and was on the floor to begin the third quarter.
Related: Hill Doesn't Miss a Beat »
Paul George and the Pacers turned it up a notch in the second half. After starting the game 2-for-10, George scored 17 of Indiana’s 28 points in the third, including the final 10. His 3-pointer from the top of the key as the buzzer sounded extended the Pacers’ lead to 13. Indiana’s stout defense had been restored out of the break, and they held the Raptors to 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) from the field, marking the third straight game that the Pacers have held an opponent to 35 percent or less in the third.
One reason for the Raptors’ struggles in the second half was Gay was unable to get going. He was 9-for-12 from the field in the first half, but then missed his nine consecutive shots. At intermission, the Pacers altered their strategy and made it a point to keep Gay away from his spots.
After the opening period, the Pacers clamped down on defense and held the Raptors to 39.5 percent shooting on the night and 84 points, right below their opponents’ average – which they lead the league by an average of nine points.
The Pacers conclude their third back-to-back of the young season tomorrow night in Brooklyn against the Nets (2-3), who lost in overtime Friday night in Washington.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George scored a team-high 23 points, seven coming at the foul stripe. He also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out a season-high six assists in 39 minutes.
Roy Hibbert had his most productive offensive game thus far, posting a season-high 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, along with seven boards. With two blocks, he continued his streak of at least one in 21 consecutive games.
In just over 19 minutes, George Hill scored 14 points. Luis Scola added eight off the bench.
Rudy Gay tallied a game-high 30 points. Amir Johnson netted his first double-double of the season: 12 points and 10 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan, who had been averaging 19.2 points per game, finished with six points on 2-of-15 shooting.
After giving up nine transition points in the first quarter, the Pacers limited the Raptors to just two points on the run for the final 36 minutes.
The Pacers have trailed at halftime in five of their first six games, including this one, and ended up on top every time.
“I’m really proud of the effort in the second half, fighting through some things in the first half. We didn’t play a great first half, we weren’t terrible, but we allowed them to get out in transition in the first quarter and we allowed Rudy Gay to get off. I thought we tightened the screws in both of those areas in the second half.” – Frank Vogel
“I really just wanted to get his feet wet and use him if I could get 15 to 20 minutes out of him, I thought it would help us tonight and help to see how he felt going into tomorrow night.” – Vogel on George Hill
“It just came together tonight. I don’t expect to have 20-point nights all the time. I just wanted to be solid on defense and give the team as much as I could on offense. I try to be the backbone on the defense and luckily some of my shots went in tonight.” – Roy Hibbert
“I think I was just pressing. I've got to continue to let the game come to me and let the game flow. I felt like sometimes out there I was pressing and that’s taking me out of my comfort zone.” – Paul George on his difficult first half.
Stat of the Game
The Pacers scored 15 more points than the Raptors in the third, upping their season differential in the period to +53.
- The Pacers won nine of their last 12 meetings with Toronto, including the previous two.
- Ahead of Veteran’s Day, the Pacers wore special shooting shirts for the NBA’s Hoops For Troops initiative.
Saturday, Nov. 9 at Brooklyn – 7:30 p.m. EST