Monday, Jan. 2 at 7:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Game Recap: Pacers 122, Raptors 114
The Indiana Pacers picked up right where they left off to start the new year.
Posting a 122-114 victory over the Toronto Raptors (16-21) on Monday, the Pacers (21-17) won a fourth-straight game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse to conclude its homestand.
In the win, the Pacers used strong bench play – outsourcing the visitors’ second unit 54-7 – while coming up clutch in the final minutes. Seven points ties for the fewest bench points scored by any NBA team this season.
The Pacers have now won six of their last seven games.
“Our second unit came in and gave us what we needed – force, energy, attacking, unselfish play,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “They were the difference in the game as a whole.”
The game was tied at 101 with seven minutes left in regulation before the Pacers used a 14-4 scoring burst – capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by guard Buddy Hield – to put the Blue & Gold ahead for good.
Standout rookie Bennedict Mathurin led seven Pacers scorers who finished in double-digit points with 21 while Myles Turner had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Hield scored 19.
Forward Jalen Smith achieved a double-double off the bench by scoring 11 points and pulling down 11 rebounds and other double-digit scorers for the Pacers included Tyrese Haliburton (16), T.J. McConnell (15) and Aaron Nesmith (10).
“This is an amazing, amazing group we’ve got who is unselfish and wants to see each other succeed,” McConnell said. “I think that’s a big part of the way we’re playing right now because we’re doing that at a high level.”
Gary Trent Jr. topped Toronto with 32 points, Pascal Siakam added 26 and Scottie Barnes chipped in 23.
After trailing by as many as 13 points in the first quarter, the Pacers rallied to lead the Raptors 66-57 by halftime.
The Pacers’ bench kept the Blue & Gold ahead in the first half by outsourcing the Raptors’ reserves 29-4.
In the first quarter, the Raptors came out firing from beyond the arc, as the team made six 3-pointers while Siakam poured in 15 points to take a 33-29 lead in the first quarter.
Off the tip, the Raptors could hardly miss from deep, making five of their first seven attempts from 3-point range to build a 19-8 advantage five minutes into the game. During that stretch, the visitors didn’t make a two-point field goal.
A Haliburton bucket stopped a 12-0 run by the Raptors before two straight scores from close range by Turner cut the deficit to 23-14 with 4:20 left in the opening frame.
Thanks in part to 12 bench points in the first quarter, the Pacers narrowed the deficit to four points by the end of the first quarter.
A minute into the second quarter, Mathurin and McConnell converted back-to-back and-ones to put the Pacers back ahead at 35-33.
The teams then traded the lead three times before 3-pointers from Barnes and Trent Jr. gave the Raptors a 47-42 lead with 7:24 on the clock, prompting a Pacers timeout.
In the final 3:50 of the half, the Pacers outscored the Raptors 12-5.
In the second quarter, Hield drained his first 3-pointer of the game, which marked his 50th straight game with a 3-point make. Hield currently owns the second-longest active regular season streak in the NBA behind Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry (215).
Hield could break the Blue & Gold’s record this season, as the Pacers’ franchise record for most games in a row with a made 3-pointer is 68, set by Reggie Miller during the 1996-1997 season.
The Raptors used a 21-4 run to retake the lead midway through the third quarter.
And-ones from Siakam and Barnes, followed by 3-pointers by Trent Jr. and O.G. Anunoby, tied the game at 75 with 6:34 left in the third quarter.
Toronto then held the lead until the Pacers used a 10-5 scoring streak in the final 2:50 of the third quarter – including five points by Mathurin and a 3-pointer from Oshae Brissett – to lead 91-90 going into the final 12 minutes.
The game stayed within three points until they tied at 101 with seven minutes remaining.
A 3-pointer by Haliburton, free throws by Nesmith and three-point play by Hield gave the Pacers a 109-103 lead with four minutes left before Turner finished a dunk and Hield drained his game-clinching threes to give the Blue & Gold a double-digit lead with less than 90 seconds left.
Overall, the Pacers made 45 of 93 field goal attempts (10-for-27 3-point) while the Raptors shot 41-for-91 (14-for-42).
On the boards, the Pacers won the rebounding battle 50-36.
The Pacers will next travel to Philadelphia to take on Joel Embiid and the 76ers on Wednesday before hosting the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.
“Any night we can beat anybody. We’re confident now, we’re confident in each other,” Haliburton said. “I think we just keep rolling right now, we’re playing really well. But it’s about growing every day, seeing what we can do better. There’s a lot of things we can get better at from this four-game homestand. You’re going to Philly, who’s obviously a really good team, playing really well in the East right now. Every night’s a battle in this league, but we know we belong in every game.”
Inside the Numbers
Hield has hit a 3-pointer in 50 straight games, which is the second-longest active streak in the NBA. The Pacers’ franchise record is 68, set by Reggie Miller during the 1996-1997 season.
Turner has 11 double-doubles this season and Smith has six.
The Pacers outscored the Raptors 23-10 in fastbreak points.
Mathurin continues to lead all rookies in total points and is first in points off the bench for all players. He has scored at least 20 points in a game 15 times this season.
The Pacers are 1-2 when seven or more players score at least 10 points.
There were 15 lead changes and 10 ties in the game.
The Pacers are 17-6 when shooting 45 percent or better and 16-3 when outshooting their opponent.
Indiana is 17-9 when their bench outscores the opponent.
Postgame Media Availability: Jan. 2, 2023
You Can Quote Me On That
“Kind of our theme is just togetherness – through the highs, through the lows, we’ve gotta stay together. (In an) 82-game season, there’s going to be highs and there’s certainly going to be lows. And we’ve experienced both of those, but the thing that’s most important is how together we are.” -- McConnell on this year's team
“Going into the game, I just tried going with the flow. I had a couple opportunities when I went to the rim and got fouled. It allowed me to get some free throws. Just pretty much trying to get myself going through my teammates.” – Mathurin on his 22-point night and 10 free throw attempts
“It was a collective effort by all of us. You're not gonna shut down a guy like that. You just want to make it as difficult as you can and make him work for everything. I feel like we did that after we got off to a slow start guarding him.” – McConnell on holding Siakam to 26 points after he scored 15 in the first quarter
“Growing up, I used to watch Toronto almost every day. So I felt like it was a great opportunity for me to play against my previous favorite team.” Mathurin, who is from Montreal, playing against Toronto
“We've got guys on this team that want to get out and run, and want to make the extra pass and drive to the basket and make the right play. So when you’ve got guys that all want to do the same thing, all five, and we have that down the line one through 15, it makes it so easy when a guy goes to the starting lineup and then we have to answer insert someone else. … It’s just really easy when you got guys like that.” McConnell on the different bench combinations having success
“The crowd is a big reason why we win.” – Mathurin on the recent stretch of home games
“T.J. McConnell is a once-in-a-decade-type player. You just don’t find guys like that. Guys that have that boundless energy and indomitable spirit and that can lift the entire building by one defining loose ball play. He does it every night.” – Carlisle on McConnell leading the second unit at the point
“To be consistently successful in the NBA, you've got to be able to win (in) different ways. If you just have one formula, teams are gonna figure it out.” – Carlisle on getting the win despite making just 10 3-pointers
“We’ve just got to keep looking forward. When you get into patting yourself on the back and feeling good about things that have already happened, it's dangerous.” –Carlisle on staying focused on the next game
“Our second unit did a great job tonight. Big kudos to them. They saved us in the second half when we had a bad start, saved us in the first half when we had a bad start. We came in and closed it. It allowed us to be fresh for the game. I think I was the only starter that played over 30 minutes. The guys had fresh legs ready to go. Big kudos to the second unit.” – Haliburton on the bench
“They’ve been amazing. We talk about (how) around this Christmas time is when fans decide if they’re going to really invest in the team. We’ve obviously been turning heads all year, but I thought we did a really good job of playing really well through this Christmas break, through New Year’s. We’ve had a lot of fans here really showing us a lot of love, being involved in these games. We’ve done a great job protecting homeport and making the fans really enjoy these games. We want to keep doing that.” – Haliburton on the recent crowds at Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Stat of the Night
Indiana’s bench outscored Toronto’s second unit 54-7, matching the fourth largest bench point differential for the franchise since the 1982-1983 season.
- If the Pacers beat Philadelphia on Wednesday, they will match their longest winning streak of the season.
- The Pacers will play the Raptors one more time this season (March 22 in Toronto).
The Pacers head to Philadelphia to take on Joel Embiid and the 76ers on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 7:00 PM ET.
The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, Jan. 6 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>