The Pacers had a rough Friday night in Toronto as they were Bosh'd, Bargnani'd, and then scalded by a bubbling Calderon. When the damage was done the Raptors walked off the court with a 110-88 win.
Did someone say something about defense? Too bad the team was out of town this afternoon when Larry Joe Legend lamented the defensive deficiencies of the Pacers during a local interview. They needed to hear it.
Actually, despite the lopsided score for most of the game, the Pacers didn't play horrible. They simply missed way too many open looks. At the other end, the Raptors used outstanding ball movement and spacing to get open looks and they DIDN'T miss. At least that's what it felt like. And these weren't layups. I swear 9 of 10 buckets were made from at least 18 feet, a truly impressive shooting effort. Overall the Raptors made 13 3-balls and shot 56% from the field while the Pacers clanked their way to making 38% of their shots. Other thoughts:
- Jamaal Tinsley was the only Pacer who could get his offense going in the first quarter. This was after the team started the game making just 1 of their first 10 FGAs.
- The Raptors scored 40 second quarter points including a couple of 3-balls from Andrea Bargnani. Mmm, he has a sweet, quick release on the long ball.
- A highlight play for the Pacers turned out to be a huge set back. Marquis Daniels split the defense on the dribble and appeared to be going in for an easy layup when he suddenly elevated and threw down a vicious one handed dunk. Oooo, it was sweet! Well, that is until he didn't return after the half because the dunk re-aggravated the injured knee that kept him out of the lineup for several games.
- Another nice play for the Pacers came on a Tinsley/J.O. pick and roll when Tins fed J.O. a nice bounce pass through the legs of Rasho Nesterovic for a layup and one.
- The Pacers were down 27 after three and brought in Maceo Baston and Shawne Williams with the second unit. They went on a 16-0 run to trim the lead to 11. As Chris Bosh made a free throw to stop the run, Quinn Buckner commented that everyone makes a run, but can you sustain it. The answer on this night - no. The Pacer could get no closer than 10 and rarely made a shot over the last six minutes of the game.
- The Pacers will have their hands full on Sunday night when Ronnie Artest returns to the Fieldhouse with the Sacramento Kings. Marquis Daniels has to be considered doubtful and we all now what Ron-Ron can do when he's focused and giving his full attention to the game. With back-to-back games against the Phoenix Suns and several road games looming in March, Sunday's game against the Kings becomes a must win game for the Pacers if they have any plans to keep pace in the Central Division.