A very determined effort from the Raptors as they were the aggressors all night long and didn't let a late lead slip away. That's not to say the Pacers didn't make a fourth-quarter charge, as they used a 12-3 run to pull within 100-94 with 4:15 to play.
The Raptors pushed their lead back to 10, but a Danny Granger putback and two at the line from Darren Collison cut it to six again with 1:15 to go. But on an ensuing Leandro Barbosa miss, Andrea Bargnani grabbed a big offensive rebound and Jose Calderon followed with a driving layup to seal it for the home side.
A sore back didn't hold back Leandro Barbosa from a brilliant performance. He had the hot hand early and his teammates fed him routinely, beginning with an incredible stretch spanning the first and second quarters. The Blur had 18 points by halftime and finished with a season-high 29 points on 12-for-21 shooting in 26 minutes.
Barbosa also played messenger with a layup attempt in the dying seconds with the win secured -- payback for Darren Collinson pulling a similar move during the last meeting on Jan. 31. "This is the NBA," said Barbosa. "You can't give respect if you don't (get) respect."
James Johnson had it going early for the Raptors, scoring all 13 of his points before halftime and finishing with four rebounds, three assists and two blocks. He also drew the assignment of defending Danny Granger and although the Pacers forward finished with a team-high 25 points, Johnson made him work for with 17 shot attempts.
"We wanted to come out with energy and I wanted to provide it no matter how it was, defence or offence and the opportunity was there," said Johnson. "Coach ran the first few plays for me. I just wanted to get going get my confidence going and get my whole offensive game going."
"I thought we got off to a pretty good start in the game too, first quarter guys played well. But yeah, when Leandro came in you could tell it was one of those nights. He felt good and had it going and Reggie just kept getting us more possessions and then limiting the number of possessions that they were going to get with his rebounding. He’s scrappy, he slaps at the ball and knocks it loose and keeps everybody on edge."
- Jay Triano, on the impact of Barbosa and Evans
Sun., Mar. 13 vs. Bobcats
1PM, Sportsnet, FAN590
The Raptors wrap up their three-game homestand with another attempt at avoiding a season sweep and playing spoiler to a team in the playoff hunt -- this time against the Bobcats. Toronto has already lost the season series against Charlotte for the first time in franchise history with defeats in the first three meetings of 2010-11.
|+12||Rebounding differential for the Raptors|
|5||Consecutive wins at ACC over the Pacers for the Raps|
|3-5||3-pt shooting for the Raptors in the fourth quarter|
|4-7||3-Point shooting in the 4th quarter for the Jazz|
|4||Consecutive games with 12 points for Ed Davis|
|"I wasn’t too happy with how we closed the game out last game so it feels good to get the win that’s the main thing."|
- Reggie Evans on his 16-rebound performance
|"That's unsportsmanlike. I would have taken his head off and busted his lip. That's just me though."|
- Pacers forward Danny Granger on the final shot from Leandro Barbosa
|"He was amazing. What he was doing, how he was shooting, how he was slashing, you can’t ask for a better performance out of a man."|
- James Johnson, on Leandro Barbosa