The Pacers took on the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena hoping to rebound after a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. But it was not in the cards tonight. The Raptors' length and physical play led to 23 Indiana turnovers as the Pacers (1-4) inevitably fell to Toronto (2-3), 118-100. The Blue & Gold have not won in the regular season in Toronto since the 2013-14 NBA season.
"We were a step slow all night," head coach Rick Carlisle said postgame. "They were very aggressive. They were up and into us. We only got three out of 12 loose balls in the game. That's been the number one indicator of our success and lack of success in the first five games."
Four Pacers finished in double figures. Malcolm Brogdon led the way with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting. However, he exited the third quarter with left hamstring soreness and did not return to action. Chris Duarte added 14, while Jeremy Lamb had 12 off the bench.
Fred VanVleet had a game-high 26 for the Raptors. Coming into tonight, VanVleet had made just six 3-pointers through four games. He equaled his total tonight.
Indiana started cold from the floor, connecting on just one of its first six shot attempts. The drought led to a run of seven unanswered Toronto points and the hosts took an early lead. However, the Blue & Gold found some success in the paint with Domantas Sabonis. His six early points helped Indiana out of the deficit as they took an 8-7 lead with 7:00 left in the first.
The squads remained in a tight battle over the next few minutes. Toronto maintained a slight edge behind the efforts of OG Anunoby. The former Hoosier had nine points over the opening 6:36. He finished the frame with 15.
With 3:54 to play and the score tied at 16 apiece, the Raptors tallied five straight as part of an 11-4 run to take a 27-20 lead. The Blue & Gold managed to cut the lead to five (29-24) on Duarte's crisp pull-up jumper with 1.7 seconds remaining.
A 7-2 Pacers run over the first 1:37 of the second period tied the score at 31. With the offense struggling, Brogdon took matters into his own hands by driving into the paint and notching consecutive buckets. With 9:35 to play, he added two free throws to give Indiana its first lead since it was 2-0.
The President was not done. He then tallied a triple and a crafty driving reverse layup to keep Indiana in front. He finally received help at the 6:35 mark when Oshae Brissett dropped in a floater to give the Blue & Gold a 42-41 lead.
However, the Pacers had trouble extending the lead from there. Toronto's length in the paint forced several uncharacteristic Indiana turnovers and empty possessions. The Raptors rattled off six straight in a 2:54 span to take a 48-42 lead and force an Indiana timeout with 2:38 remaining.
Out of the timeout, the Raptors' length continued to be a problem. Indiana committed two more turnovers and had a shot blocked over the final two minutes. A late three by VanVleet pushed Toronto's lead to 57-48 before the teams headed to the locker room.
The Blue & Gold could not chip into the deficit much over the first half of the third. A three from Myles Turner at the 7:17 mark cut Toronto's lead to 63-57, but five quick Raptors points quickly pushed their lead back to 11. To make matters worse, the Pacers received news that Brogdon would not return to action after injuring his hamstring early in the frame.
At the 4:37 mark, Indiana managed to trim the lead to seven, 69-62, after T.J. McConnell knocked in a nifty fadeaway jumper. But once again, the Raptors quickly extended the lead back to 11.
Indiana's turnover train continued chugging along. The Raptors kept capitalizing and pushed their lead to 81-66 on VanVleet's 3-pointer with 1:23 to go. Jeremy Lamb's 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds to play appeared to give Indiana some hope before entering the fourth. But VanVleet responded with another triple with 1.4 seconds remaining to take an 87-71 lead into the final frame.
The Blue & Gold found themselves struggling to make headway early in the fourth. Duarte's triple to start the frame provided a glimmer of hope, but VanVleet's sixth 3-pointer of the game and a reverse layup from Khem Birch pushed the Raptors' lead back to 94-78 with 9:03 to play.
At the 7:30 mark, the hosts extended their lead to 20, 98-78, after Scottie Barnes put his head down, drove the lane, and finished with a flush. However, Indiana quickly responded with a 12-2 run to close the gap to 100-90. Brad Wanamaker capped the run with five quick points, including a 28-foot trey that induced a Toronto timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Raptors regained their footing. Behind another Pacers turnover, VanVleet knocked in consecutive buckets to push the lead back to 14. With 2:57 to play, Anunoby added a triple to extend Toronto's lead to 107-92. After that, Indiana never threatened again.
To add insult to injury, Isaiah Jackson, a highly-touted Pacers rookie, appeared to hyper-extend his left knee after fighting for a rebound. Jackson seemed to be in quite a bit of pain and needed help walking to the Pacers locker room with 2:01 remaining.
The Blue & Gold do not have much time to rest, as they have to prepare to play the star-filled Brooklyn Nets on Friday at Barclays Center.
Inside The Numbers
Coming into tonight, the Raptors were averaging a league-best 16.3 offensive rebounds per game. Tonight, they hauled in 16 more. The Pacers had just nine offensive boards.
Domantas Sabonis scored the first six points for the Blue & Gold but was held to just three more points for the remainder of the game.
The Pacers shot better from the floor than the Raptors (48.1 percent to 46 percent). However, the Raptors shot better from deep (46.7 percent to 34.5 percent).
You Can Quote Me On That
"We have to take care of the ball. We have to be strong with the ball. We have to make the simple pass. Sometimes, we try to make the tough pass, or the home run pass, and we just have to keep it simple." –Lamb on fixing the turnover issues
"They crowded the paint from start to finish. (It) made it really difficult. They've got quick, angular guys, and they were ripping at the ball all night. They knocked a lot of balls loose. Give them credit. They executed well." –Carlisle on the difficulties offensively
"They just outworked us, played harder than us, and I think we were not ready to play today." –Duarte on what went wrong
Stat of The Night
The 23 Indiana turnovers set a new season-high for the squad. The errors led to 31 points for Toronto.
- Indiana's last regular-season win against the Raptors in Toronto came on March 1, 2013.
- Toronto has won 10 out of the last 14 matchups against Indiana.
- Chris Duarte has started his NBA career by finishing in double figures for five straight games.
The Pacers travel to Brooklyn to take on Kevin Durant, James Harden and the Nets on Friday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 PM ET.
The Pacers will tip off a three-game homestand on Saturday, Oct. 30, when they host Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors at Gainbridge Fieldhouse at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »