The Pacers have had enough close games this season.
Perhaps that's why on Saturday, against the second-seeded Toronto Raptors, the Pacers pieced together a powerful 13-2 run in the final five minutes to shock the Raptors on their home court, winning 100-90 and firing the first shot in what could become one of the more intriguing series in the Eastern Conference.
Indiana showed it has the defensive tools to stymie Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, who are integral to Toronto's offensive success. The pair combined to go just 8-of-32 from the field on Saturday afternoon, shut down by the defensive effort of George Hill, Paul George, and several other swarming Pacers.
PLAYOFF CENTRAL: See more from the 2016 Playoffs at Pacers.com/Playoffs »
The main worry for the Pacers headed into Game 2 is how they can regain control of the glass. Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas set a Raptors franchise record with 19 boards, and Toronto outrebounded Indiana 52-38.
Although Indiana was outdone on the glass by just one rebound in the second half, giving the Raptors extra possessions will damage the Pacers' chances of sweeping their first two road games of the 2016 Playoffs.
The biggest take away from Game 1, however, was the play of Paul George, who thrust himself into the Pacers' record books with a 33-point, 6-assist performance, playing the role of closer for the Pacers.
George was just the third Pacers player to score 30 or more points and have five or more assists in a Playoff win, joining Jalen Rose and Reggie Miller.
If PG can carry his hot streak over to Game 2, while the Pacers continue to slow down Toronto's All-Star duo, Indiana certainly has a shot at taking both road games to start the series.
However, as many teams have learned about the second-seeded Raptors — who have won the season series against every Eastern Conference team in this postseason — they aren't a team that gets put away easily.
Pacers: PG - George Hill, SG - Monta Ellis, SF - Paul George, PF - Lavoy Allen, C - Ian Mahinmi
Raptors: PG - Kyle Lowry, SG - DeMar DeRozan, SF - Norman Powell, PF - Luis Scola, C - Jonas Valanciunas
April 16, 2016: On Saturday afternoon, Indiana kicked off the 2016 NBA Playoffs with a bang, recording a 100-90 win over the second-seeded Raptors.
Paul George was spectacular in the winning effort, scoring 27 of his game-high 33 points in the second half and passing out six assists as Indiana used a 13-2 run late in the fourth to put the Raptors away on their home floor.
PHOTO GALLERY: Pacers Swipe Game 1 »
The two most dangerous players on Toronto, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, each recorded subpar games, going a combined 8-of-32 from the field.
Although the Pacers didn't achieve their stated goal of keeping the Raptors off the free throw line (Toronto had 38 attempts), Indiana was still able to overcome a second-half deficit and pull away in a big way late in the game.
While George stole the show with his 33-point night, Lavoy Allen and C.J. Miles each chipped in seven rebounds, and Solomon Hill hit on all 10 of his free throw attempts to help secure the #PacersWin.
- Myles Turner recorded five blocks in Game 1 of the series
- Every Toronto starter had a negative plus-minus in Game 1
- Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas set a Raptors franchise record with 19 rebounds in Game 1
- The Pacers hit on 11-of-21 3-point shots, while the Raptors hit on just 4-of-19
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: Fox Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
NBA TV - Kevin Calabro (play-by-play), Grant Hill (analyst), Kevin Ray (sideline reporter)
Radio: 93.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst), Pat Boylan (studio host)
The Pacers will host the Raptors on Thursday, April 21 and Saturday, April 23. Find out how to get playoff tickets at Pacers.com/Playoffs »
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