The Indiana Pacers scored 115 points through three quarters with little resistance from the Toronto Raptors and then cruised home from there for a 130-101 win.
In the second quarter the Pacers put out separate runs of 14-4 and 11-3 to pull ahead of the Raptors and eventually went to the half up 74-48. After the half, the Pacers had no intention of letting the Raptors back in the game and served up an early TKO pushing the third quarter lead to as much as 41 points, which also happens to be the point total for the third quarter.
With the benches cleared for most of the fourth quarter, the scoring binge ended but the game was decided and the Pacers were able to reach 130 points for a season-high point total.
While the Raptors didn't have much for the Pacers tonight, the Pacers still deserve plenty of credit for their effort and execution. The Pacers finished the night shooting 55% from the field, but through three quarters they were at 64% with a 41-point lead. All of those buckets seemed to come easy but they were the result of great ball movement. For the games the Pacers made 50 field goals and had 30 assists on those makes. That's incredible.
Suddenly the Pacers are taking care of business, beating teams they should with relative ease. I'm using all of my power to resist the urge to look back at the many games earlier in the year when performing like this would've altered the season drastically. I suggest you do the same, it will only drive you nuts.
Plenty of other thoughts from this one:
- Coming off the bench, T.J. Ford really led the charge as the Pacers extended their lead. Ford finished with 14 points, 11 assists and only one turnover but more importantly was really running the show while on the floor. His confidence seems sky high and he also appears to enjoy getting the whole team going. He was an efficient 7-10 from the floor and kept himself out of trouble with the ball all night.
- Various lineup combinations that include four or all five of Ford, Jarrett Jack, Danny Granger, Troy Murphy and Jeff Foster again played incredibly well. Something has clicked in the past few weeks with the way these guys play together.
- Danny Granger had 29 points in 27 minutes doing most of his damage by taking the ball to the rim. Granger was 0-3 from 3-land, but didn't force any and instead went with what was working in the lane. As a team the Pacers were only 4-20 from behind the arc. Wasn't a problem, though with all of the buckets at the rim.
- Troy Murphy had his double-double early and finished with 14 and 14 to pull within one double-double of Clark Kellogg's team record for a season.
- Speaking of double-doubles, along with Murph and T.J. Ford, Josh McRoberts collected one of his own with 12 points and 11 rebounds. He also had a couple of blocks and a couple of crowd-pleasing dunks.
- Brandon Rush found himself in early foul trouble and never really got into the rhythm of the game after sitting out most of the first half. The shot wasn't falling and Rush eventually fouled out so it will be interesting to see how he bounces back on Friday at Atlanta.
- Roy Hibbert actually found himself on the positive side of fouls called in the post. His counterpart for the Raptors, Patrick O'Bryant picked up four early fouls before Roy even had one. O'Bryant eventually fouled out with 16 points for the random opponent with a career high, but Roy added 17 points and 7 rebounds of his own and only had four fouls. Hibbert pitched in six early points to help fuel the Pacers third quarter outburst.
- Jarrett Jack was simply his steady, usual self with a game that could easily be taken for granted tonight. He finished with 23 points on 9-11 shooting, along with 6 assist and 5 rebounds.
- Speaking of Jack, he had a hand in a humorous moment during this laugher. Jack deflected a ball which flew into a group of four guys sitting in the corner courtside seats. As luck would have it, the ball found a couple of their beers and they were all quickly soaked. The Pacers took care of them with towels, jerseys and most importantly, fresh beers.