Pacers-Raptors is interesting for a few reasons: they knocked the Pacers out of the playoffs in seven games last year and, this year, they are five games ahead of the Pacers, holding the fourth seed.
The Pacers play the Raptors three times in the final weeks of the regular season, and a three-game sweep of the Raptors could be huge for Indiana regarding playoff positioning.
In the first half tonight, though, the Raptors were quick to remind us that winning in Syrup Country would not be easy. They out-rebounded the Pacers 30-16, Serge Ibaka, their key trade deadline pickup, provided 14 points on 6-8 shooting, and the Raptors ended the first half up 17. I was so frustrated I almost…almost…wanted to never watch Jurassic Park again.
Despite a push in the third that had the Pacers down 12 with the ball, the Raptors responded and pushed the lead to 18 entering the fourth, a monumental comeback task—especially with a game tomorrow against the Fighting George Hill’s.
In the fourth, Nate’s desperation for something, anything, to stop the Raptor onslaught meant Aaron Brooks entering the game. He scored five points, but he also had a nasty turnover, passing out of a double-team to no one. The plan did not work.
With four minutes to go and IND down 21, the mop up squad was in on both sides. Give Toronto credit–they hit shots and played hard. Asked for comment after the game, Nate could only wink at the camera, saying “clever girl…”
Pacers lose: Raptors a lot, Pacers much less.
Pacers have now won and lost in alternating games in a franchise-record 13 straight games.