Bennedict Mathurin
(Matt Kryger)

Game Rewind: Pacers 122, Raptors 130

Monday, Feb. 26 at 7:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse

Game Recap: Raptors 130, Pacers 122

Game Recap

Playing on the second night of a back-to-back is always challenging, but it's been especially problematic for the Pacers this season.

Monday night's game against Toronto at Gainbridge Fieldhouse followed an all-too-familiar narrative, as the rested Raptors (22-36) outlasted Indiana (33-26), 130-122, snapping the Pacers' three-game win streak. The Pacers are now just 2-9 on the season when playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the second-worst record in the NBA when playing with no rest.

The Blue & Gold were riding high after a 22-point drubbing of a red-hot Dallas team on Sunday, but played from behind for much of Monday's contest and saw a late rally come up just short.

"We've all got to get better," Pacers forward Pascal Siakam said after the loss. "These games are super important. I think that we put a lot of pressure on like, 'Oh man, we're supposed to win these games against certain teams.' Everyone's good and no matter what a team's record is we should just go play basketball."

The loss spoiled a tremendous night from second-year guard Bennedict Mathurin, who matched his career high with 34 points while going 11-for-15 from the field, 5-for-8 from 3-point range, and 7-for-9 from the free throw line while also tallying nine rebounds and five assists.

"As the game went on and we were struggling, Mathurin's shot-making in the second half, particularly in the third quarter, held us in the game," Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. "We got down by 12 and he kind of single-handedly kept us in the game. He was making some hellacious and really heroic-type shots."

Siakam added 27 points, nine rebounds, and six assists for Indiana in his second game against his former team, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Raptors, who had seven players reach double figures.

RJ Barrett led the visitors with 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting and five assists, while All-Star forward Scottie Barnes recorded his fifth career triple-double, finishing with 21 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, and fiveblocks.

Coming off a season-high 33-point performance in Sunday's win over Dallas, Myles Turner picked up where he left off early on Monday night. Turner scored eight of Indiana's first 15 points, knocking down his first two 3-point attempts.

The lead changed hands 11 times in the opening frame, but it was Toronto that held a narrow 30-28 advantage entering the second quarter.

The contest continued to be a back-and-forth affair in the ensuing frame. There were five ties and four lead changes in the first six-plus minutes of the second quarter but Toronto surged ahead thanks to a 7-0 run.

A three from Siakam and a transition bucket from Mathurin on the next two Pacers possessions brought Indiana within one at 51-50. But back-to-back baskets from Barrett and Barnes built back a cushion for the Raptors.

Mathurin's 3-pointer cut the deficit back to two with 2:22 remaining in the first half. That's where the margin remained when Turner drew a foul on Jakob Poeltl and headed to the line with 1:06 remaining in the first half. Turner hit the first free throw and missed the second, but he followed his miss, corralled the rebound, and appeared to put it back in the basket to give Indiana the lead. The basket was waived off, however, by referee Bill Kennedy, who called Turner for an offensive foul.

Two layups by Poeltl in the final minute of the half gave Toronto a 61-56 advantage at the break.

Siakam provided a spark shortly after halftime, scoring eight straight Pacers points — all of them coming at the rim — in a 1:46 spurt. Siakam's outburst cut Toronto's lead to 67-66, but the Pacers went cold immediately thereafter. The Raptors took advantage, reeling off 11 unanswered points over the next 3:30 to open up the first double-digit lead of the night.

The Pacers eventually rediscovered their shooting stroke and used a 10-2 run that featured threes from Jalen Smith and Mathurin to get back within four.

Mathurin closed the quarter with a flourish, scoring seven points in the final 1:16. After he and Ochai Agbaji traded free throws, Mathurin drilled another three off a dish from T.J. McConnell to trim the deficit to 88-85 with 55.2 seconds remaining in the third quarter. After a miss on the other end, McConnell found a cutting Mathurin, who converted a tough shot while falling down to make it a one-point game.

Barnes' layup on the other end closed the scoring for the quarter and gave the visitors a 90-87 lead entering the fourth quarter.

They wouldn't remain in front for long, as Mathurin buried his fourth trey of the night 17 seconds into the final frame to tie the game. Toronto briefly regained the lead following Gradey Dick's 3-pointer on the other end, but the Pacers took their first lead of the second half soon after on Smith's putback basket that made it 96-95 with 10:05 to play.

The two teams traded the lead five times over the next 1:30 before the Raptors surged back in front. Eight straight Raptors points — including threes from Dick and Immanuel Quickley — broke a 102-102 tie and forced a timeout from Pacers Carlisle with 7:12 to play.

The visitors extended their lead even after the stoppage, stretching the margin to 115-104 following Dick's three with 6:21 remaining.

The Pacers mounted one last charge. A Mathurin layup cut deficit to 117-108 with 4:32 remaining. Tyrese Haliburton then knocked down a three from the left wing off a Mathurin offensive rebound and kick-out — just the second field goal of the night for the Pacers' All-Star point guard — to make it a two-possession game with 3:50 to play.

After a Toronto timeout, the Pacers forced a turnover and Andrew Nembhard's layup made it 117-113 with 3:17 remaining. But Gary Trent Jr. knocked down a jumper on the other end and Barrett hit a three at 2:15 that pushed the Raptors' lead back to nine and the visitors held on for the victory.

Turner recorded a double-double in the loss, finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks. Nembhard added 11 points, while McConnell tallied 10 points, four boards, and four assists off the bench.

Quickley scored 19 points for Toronto, while Dick added 18 off the bench, going 7-for-9 from the field and 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. Poeltl had 15 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks in 22 minutes before exiting in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle, Agbaji scored 13 off the bench, and Trent added 11 points and five boards.

After falling to the Pacers in Toronto on Feb. 14, the Raptors have won three straight games coming out of the All-Star break.

The Pacers will wrap up a four-game homestand on Wednesday against New Orleans before embarking a three-game road trip that begins with a rematch against the Pelicans before continuing on to San Antonio and Dallas.

Inside the Numbers

Mathurin's 34 points matched his career high, set earlier this season on Dec. 18 against the Clippers. According to StatMuse, his 34 points were also the most points ever by a Canadian player against Toronto.

Turner recorded his 12th double-double of the season in the loss.

Haliburton went 2-for-11 from the field and 1-for-6 from 3-point range, finishing with just nine points and seven assists. It was only his fourth game this season in which he failed to score in double figures and just the second time he did not have either double-digit points or assists in a game, with the other game being Jan. 8 against Boston when he played just 13 minutes before exiting with a hamstring injury.

Toronto's reserves outscored Indiana's bench, 40-25. The Pacers entered the night leading the league in bench points, averaging 47.6 per game, and are now just 2-9 on the season when the opponent scores more bench points.

The Raptors shot 55.2 percent from the field and went 12-for-28 (42.9 percent) from 3-point range, while the Pacers shot 46 percent and were 13-for-42 (31 percent) from beyond the arc.

Toronto outscored Indiana 78-50 in points in the paint and 26-11 in fastbreak points.

Indiana Pacers Postgame Media Availability (vs. Toronto Raptors) | February 26, 2024

You Can Quote Me On That

"Disappointing result. Tough game. No excuses. I thought Toronto really made a point of making it difficult on Tyrese...We just weren't able to get over the hump in the game." -Carlisle on the outcome

"Toronto plays the fastest pace in the league. They had 26 (fastbreak points), they had 23 last game. We did better there, but they just got in the paint too often. (When you give up) 78 paint points, you're going to lose most of the time." -Carlisle on defensive issues

"We just weren't as a present on defense. Against a team like that, they're running, they're moving and they cut a lot. So we've got to be in sync...It just wasn't sustained for longer periods of time." -Siakam on issues slowing down the Raptors

"I was really bad on defense tonight. I take all accountability. I'm looking forward to being better next game." -Mathurin on the Pacers' defensive issues

"Benn's special. I thought he played very well, he made some tough shots, which he can do. He was rolling out there." -Siakam on Mathurin's performance

"Just happy to step into my shot. I know I work really hard so I'd seen the first one go in, I took the next one and the next one went in, and I just kept going." -Mathurin on his big offensive night

"He's rebounding well. Everybody took a step back defensively tonight, but he's made great strides defensively this year. We know he can put the ball in the hole. And that stretch in the second half, he was out of this world. As simple as that. We couldn't get anything going and he just rose up and made some tremendously difficult shots." -Carlisle on Mathurin's strong play recently

"It's great playing with a guy like Pascal who creates so much attention. He's so great when he has the ball in his hands that he creates a lot of distraction for the defense. Pretty much just trying to feed off of that." -Mathurin on getting comfortable playing with Siakam

Stat of the Night

The Pacers' 2-9 record on the second night of a back-to-back this season is the second-worst mark in the league. Only Washington has been worse when playing on no rest, going 0-10 on the second night of a back-to-back.

Noteworthy

  • The Raptors have a 2-1 lead in the season series with Indiana, with the road team prevailing in all three contests so far. Toronto won 132-131 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Nov. 22 and Indiana came away with a 127-125 on Feb. 14 in Toronto. The two teams will meet once more in Toronto on April 9.
  • Pacers forward Doug McDermott played five minutes in the first half before exiting with a sore right calf.
  • Starting forward Aaron Nesmith missed his third straight game with a sprained right ankle.

Up Next

The Pacers wrap up four-game homestand by hosting Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 PM ET. Find Tickets >>