Raptors vs. Pacers

Kyle Lowry heats up for 28 points with 8 rebounds as the Raptors beat the Pacers 101-94 in overtime.

Postgame 160317

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Raptors vs. Pacers

Kyle Lowry heats up for 28 points with 8 rebounds as the Raptors beat the Pacers 101-94 in overtime.
Mar 17, 2016  |  02:02

Postgame Wrap Up: Pacers-Raptors 160317

March 17, 2016 - The Indiana Pacers fell to the Toronto Raptors Thursday night in overtime 101-94. Pacers.com's Lauryn Gray recaps the Pacers' disappointing loss.
Mar 17, 2016  |  02:29

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room 160317

March 17, 2016 - Pacers' players Myles Turner and Paul George reflect on their disappointing 101-94 overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday night.
Mar 17, 2016  |  02:01

Solo's Clutch Steal

March 17, 2016 - Pacers forward Solomon Hill strips the ball from Kyle Lowry in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, allowing Monta Ellis to draw a foul on the other end.
Mar 17, 2016  |  00:13

Postgame: Frank Vogel Press Conference 160317

March 17, 2016 - Pacers head coach Frank Vogel discusses Indiana's 101-94 overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Mar 17, 2016  |  02:26

PG Gets the And-1

March 17, 2016 - Pacers forward Paul George takes it to the hole for the basket plus the foul late in the fourth quarter against the Raptors.
Mar 17, 2016  |  00:13

Postgame: Raptors Locker Room 160317

March 17, 2016 - Raptors' head coach, Dwane Casey, and players DeMar DeRozan and Bismack Biyombo share their thoughts following their 101-94 overtime victory over the Pacers on Thursday night.
Mar 17, 2016  |  01:53

Solo to the Rack

March 17, 2016 - Pacers forward Solomon Hill takes it to the rack late for the bucket in the fourth quarter against Toronto.
Mar 17, 2016  |  00:10

George Hill Beats the Buzzer

March 17, 2016 - Pacers point guard George Hill drains a corner three just before the halftime buzzer sounds on Thursday night against the Raptors.
Mar 17, 2016  |  00:11

Hill Swats the Shot

March 17, 2016 - Pacers center Jordan Hill rejects Kyle Lowry's shot off of the backboard.
Mar 17, 2016  |  00:23

Ellis Finds Turner

Monta Ellis throws it up to Myles Turner for the and-one layup.
Mar 17, 2016  |  00:20

Hill Drives In

George Hill sprints to the rim for the nifty layup.
Mar 17, 2016  |  00:18

George Lays It In

Paul George stays with it and gets the bucket to go.
Mar 17, 2016  |  00:24

Bottom Line for Pacers is at the Foul Line

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

Frank Vogel knew what was coming. He talked about it, wrote about it and probably had dreams about it. But there wasn't much his players could do about it.

DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry wore out a path to the foul line at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Thursday, combining for 21 free throw attempts and scoring two more points via those means than the Pacers managed as a team. Whether or not they deserved so many opportunities is up for debate, but it was the difference in Toronto's 101-94 overtime victory and will be the primary topic of discussion should the teams meet again in the playoffs.

If the season had ended after this game, they would. The Raptors are second in the Eastern Conference and the Pacers are seventh, but the Pacers have 14 games left – nine of them at home – to prove they're better than that. And they might need every one of them to become better at avoiding overtime games, much less winning them.

Although they have outscored opponents in the fourth quarter this season by a margin that ranked fifth in the NBA heading into Thursday's game, and although they have won five of their last six games decided by three points or less, the Pacers are 1-7 in overtime games this season. The reasons for that are as varied as the opponents, but the bottom line is the same.

This time it had to do with Monta Ellis missing 1-of-2 foul shots with 14.2 seconds left in regulation, botching an opportunity to give the Pacers the lead, Paul George missing all six field goal attempts in overtime, Bismack Biyombo grabbing a franchise-record 25 rebounds and, especially, the defense being unable to contain DeRozan and Lowry.

The Raptors guards sound like a law firm, but play like outlaws. They each scored 28 points in this one, combining to hit 18-of-21 free throws. It's nothing new. DeRozan has averaged 29.6 points over the last five games and Lowry 23.8. They are masters at getting into the lane and drawing contact from defenders, something Vogel made a point of emphasizing before the game, both with his players and the media.

"The No. 1 point on the game plan was to play without fouling," he said afterward. "I'm disappointed in our (in)ability to do that tonight."

Toronto attempted 15 more foul shots than the Pacers and scored 14 more points from the line. Free throws aren't as sexy as 3-pointers, but usually mean more. The Pacers this season are 23-10 when making more foul shots than the opponent and 12-21 when making less. They're 21-16 when attempting fewer 3-pointers, indicative of the importance of getting the ball into the lane where fouls can be drawn.

Like what DeRozan and Lowry did. They combined for 22 free throw attempts in the first meeting with the Pacers, which Toronto won. They combined for just nine in the second, which the Pacers won.

The Pacers were left confused by how to go about preventing the barrage, given the way the game was officiated. Vogel was irate at times over the foul calls on his players.

"I don't know what to call that type of basketball," said Solomon Hill, the steadiest Pacers player with 12 points, seven rebounds and a key steal in the fourth quarter that set up Ellis' free throw opportunities. "I respect those guys and the way they can score, but it's almost like (the referees) want us to play defense with no hands.

"Those aren't regular shots; those aren't shots you see people practicing. They're creative in the way they finish. They're initiating the contact; it's not like they're going toward the rim. They're efficient in it and they get their calls, but they're playing for fouls. We've got to be smarter in the way we come at them."

Added George: "It's all a bait game. They do a good enough job baiting the officials to call it. They're good at it."

The Pacers' offense struggled, too. They shot 38.5 percent from the field and hit just 3-of-11 shots in overtime. The ball didn't move enough, which made good shots difficult to come by. Solomon Hill was the rare Pacers player who found open teammates without dribbling the ball and attacked the basket.

"We had some tough looks," he said. "We have to see the weakside more. Paul found me for a three (which provided a 79-77 lead in the fourth quarter). Monta found me for an early two and a three that I missed, but that weakside was open. They're a team that's going to push all the way over and help strongside a lot. I think when we make the throwbacks we have to do one more instead of letting them contain us on the strong side."

To their credit, the Pacers were in too much of a foul mood afterward to talk about silver linings in this loss, but there were a few. They held their third straight opponent under 40 percent from the field, and their bench outscored Toronto 30-14 despite the absence of starting center Ian Mahinmi (sore lower back) which moved Jordan Hill into the starting lineup, and newly-acquired point guard Ty Lawson.

Lawson, who was injured five minutes and five seconds into his debut 10 days earlier, dressed in case of an emergency need, but was held out as a precaution for his sprained left foot. He had thought Wednesday he might play against the Raptors, but was even more certain afterward about playing Saturday against Oklahoma City.

"I've felt good the last few days," he said.

"After 10 minutes running around, the pain comes, then it goes away for a little bit. I think I can play through it. We'll see next game. Hopefully I get a chance to get out there."

Regardless of who's playing, the Pacers are going to have to figure how to win the overtime games, or at least avoid them. Say this much, they're getting plenty of practice.

Vogel sees the bright side of that.

"We're growing and improving," he said. "I really feel like it's going to be a strength of ours. I think come playoff time, we're going to win a series. Because we've struggled with it, it's forcing us to work extra at it, and we're improving at it. I think it's going to be a strength of ours come playoff time."


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