GAME RECAP: Pacers 120, Raptors 115

T.J. Warren and Myles Turner each score 24 points to lead Indiana in a 120-115 overtime win.

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GAME RECAP: Pacers 120, Raptors 115

T.J. Warren and Myles Turner each score 24 points to lead Indiana in a 120-115 overtime win.
Dec 23, 2019  |  00:02

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Dec. 23, 2019

December 23, 2019 - Aaron Holiday, Myles Turner and Doug McDermott respond to the 120-115 victory over the Toronto Raptors, Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 23, 2019  |  02:14

Postgame: McMillan Press Conference - Dec. 23, 2019

December 23, 2019 - Coach Nate McMillan responds to the 120-115 overtime victory against the Toronto Raptors Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 23, 2019  |  05:19

Aaron Holiday for Three

Dec 23, 2019  |  00:06

Warren Ties the Game

Dec 23, 2019  |  00:05

McConnell Rises over Lowry

Dec 23, 2019  |  00:06

Warren Finds a Way

Dec 23, 2019  |  00:07

Turner 3-for-3 from Deep

Dec 23, 2019  |  00:07

Sumner Attacks the Rim

Dec 23, 2019  |  00:07

Sabonis Dunks it Home

Dec 23, 2019  |  00:06

Block by Sabonis

Dec 23, 2019  |  00:06

Warren from the Corner

Dec 23, 2019  |  00:07

Lamb Hits the Three

Dec 23, 2019  |  00:06

Hickory Halftime: City of Anderson

Dec. 23, 2019 - The City of Anderson, which has produced five Mr. Basketballs and three state championship teams was honored at halftime of Monday's Hickory Night game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 23, 2019  |  02:01

Holiday Turns Confidence into an Asset

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

When you're the youngest kid in the family and playing in two-on-two games in the driveway with siblings who aren't only older but also accomplished, you have a choice. Get confident or get out.

Aaron Holiday's confidence has caused him problems in the past, but more and more it's becoming a problem for opponents. He wasn't the leading scorer in the Pacers' 120-115 overtime victory over Toronto at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday — Myles Turner and T.J. Warren each scored 24 points — but he probably was the most influential player in the game for all he did and didn't do.

Starting at point guard because of Malcolm Brogdon's sore hamstring, Holiday scored 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and in overtime while hitting three-of-five 3-pointers. He also had four assists in those periods. Just as importantly, he didn't have a turnover. Overall, he finished with 19 points, 10 assists, and just one turnover in his 31 minutes, negating the potential impact of Brogdon's absence.

"You're seeing growth from him," said coach Nate McMillan, who at times has been a stern taskmaster with the youngest Holiday, such as when he benched him for the second and third games of the season after Holiday forced the action in the first half of the season-opener.

Holiday scored seven points in the final 3:18 of regulation, his biggest field goal coming on a 3-pointer from the top with 1:18 left to cut into Toronto's four-point lead. After Toronto missed, Holiday fed Warren for a 3-pointer from the left corner to open a two-point lead with 41.6 seconds left. Toronto tied the game on Kyle Lowry's driving bank shot with 34.7 seconds remaining and neither team scored on its final possession.

Holiday and Turner each hit two 3-pointers in overtime. Holiday's second one, in front of Toronto's bench off Jeremy Lamb's kickout from the lane, was the biggest, opening a four-point lead with 53.1 seconds left. Toronto called timeout and Holiday smiled widely at the Raptors' reserves while backpedaling to the Pacers' bench.

Holiday is less outgoing than all three of his siblings, especially with people he doesn't know well, but his confidence is becoming more and more evident as his opportunities increase.

"His confidence has never wavered," said Turner, who hit a career-high five 3-pointers in six attempts. "Everybody on this team encourages him to be himself. He makes big plays. I don't think he's scared of the moment. I think he relishes the moment, quite frankly. It's pretty dope to see him get his opportunity and take advantage of it."

Dope perhaps, but hardly startling to the oldest of the Holiday children, Justin, who has been able to follow Aaron's entire career from a distance.

"It's normal to me," said Justin, who is seven years older than Aaron, four years older than Lauren — who attended Monday's game at The Fieldhouse — and one year older than Jrue. "He's done that at every level. It was a matter of getting his opportunity I'm not surprised."

Not surprised, because of the confidence Aaron has exhibited since the family games in the driveway.

"As a young kid he was always that way," Justin said. "He always had to go up against us. When he was young-young we were way bigger than him, but he always had confidence."

Aaron acknowledges the benefit of the fight-or-flight challenge of growing up with older siblings, but also gives credit to his parents. Father Shawn and mother Toya both played at Arizona State, so they know something about learning to compete.

"My parents instilled it in me, to be confident no matter what," Aaron said. "Go out there and play your game and whatever happens, happens."

Aaron Holiday, Jeremiah Johnson

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

What happened in the Pacers' loss to the Clippers back on Dec. 9 was that Aaron put up — one could say jacked up — three quick shots early in the fourth quarter and was called back to the bench by McMillan. He's been superb in the seven games since then, however, averaging 15.2 points on 53 percent shooting — 52 percent on 3-point shots — with 24 assists and eight turnovers.

It's not entirely a coincidence that the Pacers have won all but one of those games. But Holiday has had company in his revival. Turner has flourished along the same timeline and regained his confidence. After failing to reach double figures in three straight games, he's done so in all seven since that Clippers loss, averaging 14.9 points on 53 percent shooting.

Turner hit his first seven shots on Monday before missing one midway through the third quarter. He missed both attempts in the fourth period but came back with two 3-pointers in overtime. The first one came on the Pacers' first possession from the right corner off a feed from Lamb. The next one came from the left wing off a feed from Aaron Holiday and gave the Pacers a two-point lead. Aaron hit the big shots from that point on.

Turner traces his turnaround to a conversation with McMillan about the adjustment he needs to make while playing the "four" position alongside double-double machine Domantas Sabonis. He's become more aggressive looking for shots since then, both in the lane and on the perimeter.

"I just voiced a little bit of my concerns and he aired it out a little bit," Turner said. "We had a good conversation and he got me more comfortable playing my position. We discussed some things I need to do and made the proper adjustments. Things have been going up ever since."

McMillan had taken to separating Turner and Sabonis to allow each to play center in smaller lineups. But it seems unlikely the Pacers can reach their potential without them playing a lot of minutes together.

They entered the game the 20th-best rebounding team in the league and were outrebounded by the Raptors, 49-46.

Turner's point total Monday was the first time he had surpassed 20 this season since he scored 25 in the season-opener.

"He's starting to get comfortable with his role," McMillan said.

The same could be said for Holiday.


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Mark Montieth's book on the formation and groundbreaking seasons of the Pacers, "Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis," is available in bookstores throughout Indiana and on Amazon.com.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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