Pacers strong 4th enough to beat Raptors

It was the second night of Toronto’s back-to-back against Indiana. The team played from behind all night. Despite a strong finish to the 3rd quarter, the Raptors stalled in the 4th to drop their 10th game of the season, 114-129.

With Domantas Sabonis out in the 1st (with a knee injury), Malcolm Brogdan took over the game. He scored a career-high 36 points in 36 minutes on 59% shooting. He added 9 assists and 7 rebounds on Monday, following his worst performance of the season the night before. Nate Bjorkgen needed him to compete and he did. He led all scorers in the win.

It was a different story for Toronto. While their defence had been solid in their last 5 wins, they allowed 126 Indiana points on 51% shooting in the loss. They were out rebounded (+6) and gave up 27 points off turnovers. While Toronto forced 13 turnovers, they managed to convert just 14 points off those Indiana miscues. The Raptors didn’t defend the ball on both ends off the floor and it hurt them.

Jeremy Lamb was huge off the Pacers bench. He had his best showing of the season, with 22 points and 7 rebounds in his fourth game back. Bjorkgen went deep into his bench and it paid off. They outscored the Raptors second unit 54-34. Chris Boucher has struggled offensively as of late, but continues to be a force on the defensive end. He grabbed 9 rebounds, had 2 blocks and 1 steal.

Fred VanVleet continues to be one of the Raptors most consistent players. He had a quiet 25 points and 6 assists, and continues to lead by example on the defensive end. VanVleet has recorded at least 1 steal in 5 consecutive games. Despite sitting 10th in the league in team defence, Toronto seemed to lose steam in the final quarter; they gave up 31 points, while their offence struggled to put up 17 points in the final 12 minutes.

“We weren’t quite engaged enough”, Nick Nurse told the media post game. Toronto was chasing Indiana all night. VanVleet added, “[We need to] have more discipline, shot selection-wise” he said. There were too many quick shots down the stretch. And while they look good if the shots go down, it is tough to come back from when you have stretches of missed quick shot attempts.

Game note: Indiana got to the FT line 17 times in the final 12 minutes, with a total of 45 attempts on the night. They converted 37 of those shots, while Toronto attempted 27 shots and made 24 of them.

Next up… Toronto is back “home” at Amalie Arena for a 3 game home stand. They take on Giannis Antetokounmpo and his 10-6 Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. Tip off is 7:30pm EASTERN.

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