After going toe-to-toe with LeBron James and the Lakers on Wednesday, the Pacers took on the Toronto Raptors on Friday, looking for revenge after the visitors captured victories in the first two meetups.
After a well-balanced effort on both ends of the floor, Indiana (9-12) took home a solid, 114-97 victory over Toronto (9-11). The Blue & Gold used a 15-2 run — 11 from Kelan Martin — late in the second quarter to take the lead for good. Seven Pacers players finished in double figures, and the defense held the Raptors to just 40 points in the second half — 16 in the fourth quarter.
"It's the best way to play," Myles Turner (17 points, 10 rebounds) said of the balanced effort. "It's fun for everybody this way...I think we've done a better job of that this year."
Domantas Sabonis led the way with a monstrous 23-point, 18-rebound double-double, falling one board shy of his season high. Caris LeVert added 19 on 8-of-15 shooting, while Martin had a season-high 15 off the bench, providing clutch minutes before the end of the first half.
"I think, defensively, he put his imprint on the game," LeVert said of Martin. "Kelan has a big body and uses his body well.
"Offensively, he did what Kelan does. He scored the ball, and he was efficient."
The Pacers found themselves in a close battle, but were trailing over the early moments of the first. The Raptors found success in the paint, feeding Precious Achiuwa for two easy slams. Indiana came to within one point of the lead several times but could not get over the hump. LeVert's triple at the 7:05 mark trimmed the Raptors' lead to 14-13. However, Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes responded with back-to-back buckets to push Toronto’s lead to five.
Indiana finally took its first lead of the game when the squad turned to its bench for some spark. With 2:26 left, T.J. McConnell picked off an errant pass and found a streaking Chris Duarte for a layup in transition. Just 25 seconds later, Malcolm Brogdon hurled a pass ahead to an open Torrey Craig, who promptly finished a layup through a foul. The heads-up play extended Indiana's lead to 27-24.
However, the Raptors surged ahead just before the quarter expired. After McConnell's jumper gave Indiana a 31-24 lead, the visitors notched consecutive triples, including a 28-footer fromVanVleet, to take a 35-31 edge into the second.
Six straight from Sabonis in the opening 1:10 helped Indiana out of the hole and tied the score at 37 apiece. But Toronto continued its red-hot shooting to regain the lead once more.
Trailing 43-39, Indiana got a spark from the rookie. Duarte scored eight of a 10-2 Pacers run, including a tough and-one finish, to give Indiana a 49-45 lead with 7:16 remaining. Duarte found success in transition, using speed to prevent the Raptors from setting up their zone defense.
Later, it was Martin who caught fire. Trailing 51-49, Martin tallied 11 of a 15-2 Indiana run that pushed the Pacers' lead to 64-53 with 1:20 to play. Toronto threatened to cut into the lead with consecutive buckets, but Brogdon nailed a step-back jumper with 4.0 seconds remaining to take a 66-57 lead into halftime.
Using defense and timely shots, the Pacers kept their lead over the early moments of the third. After consecutive Raptors buckets trimmed the lead to 68-61, Myles Turner hit an open baseline three to stretch the lead to 71-61 at the 9:39 mark. On the next possession, he forced a shot-clock violation after swatting away Achiuwa’s attempted floater. LeVert then pushed the lead to 12 with a cutting layup moments later.
Toronto managed to cut Indiana's lead to single digits midway through the frame. However, once again, Indiana had the responses. After Barnes' jumper trimmed the lead to 75-69, the Blue & Gold used a Turner layup and a trey from Craig to widen the gap back to 11 with 4:49 left.
When the Raptors threatened late, Craig did the dirty work to keep them from gaining momentum. Leading 84-77, the Pacers’ offseason acquisition scrapped for offensive rebounds and putbacks on consecutive possessions to extend the lead to 88-77 with 2:04 remaining. The Blue & Gold led by the same margin, 92-81, entering the final frame.
The Raptors started the fourth with five straight before the Pacers found their footing. Leading 92-86 with 9:37 left, LeVert drilled a wide-open three after Martin earned a second-chance opportunity with an offensive board. The bucket started a string of 10 unanswered points over a 2:04 span that extended the Pacers’ lead to 102-86.
With Indiana ahead 105-88, Toronto threatened once more with a 6-0 spree before a baseline trey from Brogdon stopped it in its tracks with 4:18 to play.
From there, the Blue & Gold finished out the game without much of a hassle. After LeVert’s jumper fell with 1:38 to play and extended the lead to 113-97, head coach Nick Nurse opted to sub in Toronto’s deep reserves.
Indiana finishes out its homestand with a matinee battle against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
Inside the Numbers
Malcolm Brogdon recorded a double-double, tallying 11 points and dishing out a season-high 12 assists.
The Pacers' bench outscored the Raptors' bench, 42-15. Three of Indiana's bench players finished in double figures (Martin, Duarte, and Craig).
The Blue & Gold won the battle on the boards, 53-41. They improve to 4-1 this season when outrebounding their opponents by 10 or more.
You Can Quote Me On That
"I feel like we're right there. We're close to a breakthrough. We feel like we should be on the other side of (our record). But it's the NBA. It's a lot of one or two-possession games that we'll definitely get on the back end, and we'll learn from. But we're together right now and getting better each and every game." –LeVert on the team's progress this season
"(Kelan Martin) is a guy that a lot of people had written off coming into this year — as a guy that could contribute and make a difference. From the very beginning of September when the guys are filtering in, I really liked his game." –Carlisle on Martin's impact this season
"It's great. It's big, especially for us. We have so many guys. We have a lot of talent — a lot of guys can score. If we share the ball, everyone is going to make the right decision." –Sabonis on the balanced effort
Stat of the Night
The Pacers hauled in 17 offensive rebounds and scored 26 second-chance points.
- The Pacers have hit the 30-point mark in the first quarter in four straight games.
- Myles Turner tallied a team-high two blocks tonight, bringing his league-leading total to 62. He has recorded a block in every appearance this season.
- Indiana has held five of its last seven opponents to fewer than 100 points.
The Pacers wrap up a three-game homestand be welcoming Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks to Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Sunday, Nov. 28 at 5:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »