Game Rap: Raptors 116, Pacers 91
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Toronto took an 18-point lead into the final quarter. Indiana didn’t get any closer than 16 in the fourth as Toronto shot its way to a 116-91 victory with seven players reaching double figures.
Shortly after Dwane Casey said his team needed to “take care of home” by coming out strong and beginning the game with force, his team did just that against the Pacers. Shooting 54 percent, the Raptors held the Pacers to just 39 percent shooting, outrebounding Indiana 20-5 in the first quarter. Serge Ibaka shot 4-for-5 from the floor for 10 points while Jonas Valanciunas added eight points and nine rebounds to help fuel the positive start. Paul George led the Pacers with nine points as the Raptors led 32-24 after one.
Toronto maintained its dominance through the first half, earning its largest halftime lead since a Jan. 15 win against the New York Knicks. Thanks to another 30-point quarter, the Raptors scored 62 points in the half, leading the Pacers 62-45 behind DeMar DeRozan’s 16-point half, an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double from Jonas Valanciunas, and a 14-point effort from Serge Ibaka. The team shot 51 percent in the first half, holding Indiana to 41 percent shooting. After struggling from distance in recent games, Toronto held a huge advantage from the 3-point line through the first two quarters, making 6-of-15 attempts to Indiana’s two makes on 11 attempts. Toronto dominated the boards as well, owning a 30-16 advantage at the break.
Things cooled down for Toronto in the third where they were held under 30 points, outscoring Indiana 29-28 in the quarter. With the Pacers making 44 percent of their field goals and the Raptors making 46 percent of their field goals, it was a more competitive third quarter, but the Pacers needed stops that didn’t come in order to trim Toronto’s lead. Things got tougher for Indiana when Paul George checked out of the game with his fourth foul midway though the quarter. The Raptors closed the third with an all-bench lineup, and ended the quarter perfectly as Delon Wright passed to P.J. Tucker who then found an open Norman Powell in the corner for a 3-pointer. Toronto held an 18-point lead heading into the fourth.
ROLLING TO A WIN
The fourth quarter was a fun one for the Raptors as they rolled to their 41st victory with ease. After opening the fourth behind by 18, the Pacers didn’t get any closer than 16 the rest of the way. Cory Joseph was the lone Raptors starter to play in the fourth as Toronto outscored Indiana 25-18 with rookie Jakob Poeltl and sophomore Delon Wight playing the entire quarter. The starters resting were more than happy to cheer on their teammates as Poeltl scored a career high 12 points and Joseph tied a career-high with nine assists in the victory.
RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Serge Ibaka started the game on fire and he never really cooled down. He played 24 minutes, scoring 16 points to go with five rebounds and a blocked shot. He connected on 7-of-11 field goals, including 2-of-3 field goals from beyond the arc. Jonas Valanciunas also got off to a hot start, helping Toronto build an early lead. Valanciunas played 24 minutes, finishing with an 11-point, 13-rebound double-double. He added a blocked shot while shooting 4-for-8 from the floor and 4-for-6 from the free throw line.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Cory Joseph had a solid game in 31 minutes against the Pacers. He just missed out on a double-double, scoring 11 points to go with nine assists, tying a career-high. Joseph added four rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot. He was 5-for-9 from the floor and 1-for-1 from three. DeMarre Carroll scored 12 points in 18 minutes on 4-of-7 field goals, including 4-for-5 from distance. He added six rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.
THAT'S A RAP…
“Any time you play with the force we did tonight, that’s what we’ve been searching for. It gives your offence and defence a chance to be successful and I thought that’s what we did tonight.”
- Dwane Casey
BY THE #’S
50…Percent shooting for Toronto, 41 percent for Indiana.
7…Players in double figures for Toronto: DeMar DeRozan with 22, Serge Ibaka with 16, Jakob Poeltl with 12, DeMarre Carroll with 12, Jonas Valanciunas with 11 points (and 13 rebounds), Cory Joseph with 11 points and Norman Powell with 11 off the bench.
12…Made 3-pointers for the Raptors in 27 attempts (44 percent). It was a rough night from distance for the Pacers who connected on just 6-of-23 attempts from beyond the arc (26 percent). It was the first time that Toronto made double-digit threes in a game since Mar. 3 in Washington.
51…Rebounds for the Raptors compared to just 33 for the Pacers. Toronto also held a 14-9 edge on the offensive glass.
THEY SAID IT…
“From start to finish I thought it was a solid contribution offensive and defensively. [We] set the tone defensively from start to finish from the jump ball. That’s the way we have to play.”
- Dwane Casey on his team getting off to the start he wanted
“We have to keep it going. Coming down to the end of the season, we have to keep this up. We need the team to get better and we can’t be happy doing it for two games. We have to continue to get better and still look at it in the way that we have to improve and try to go into the playoffs with that kind of momentum.”
- DeMar DeRozan on needing to continue to bring the effort shown in the team’s previous two victories
“We had a good talk as a team. Before the Detroit game we said we all had to come together. We had to play with more energy and I feel that’s what we did these last couple of games. You notice it, especially the start of the game. We came out running, we got more fast break points and it’s easier to play that way.”
- Jakob Poeltl on the difference in play since Thursday’s loss to OKC
The Raptors remain in Toronto to prepare for the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre at 7 P.M. ET