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Pacers Links: Frustrated Pacers return home after split in Toronto

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The Raptors outplayed the Pacers for the majority of Game 2 to even the first-round playoff series at 1-1 as the teams head to Indiana for Game 3 on Thursday.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers grudgingly returned to Indiana with a 1-1 split in Toronto after losing Game 2, 98-87 in frustrating fashion.

After it looked like they may take the night off, the Pacers showed some resolve to work their way back into the game and remained in position to win in the fourth quarter before it all slipped away. Too much damage by Jonas Valanciunas on the Toronto side and not nearly enough help for Paul George on the Indy side leveled the series as the Pacers just weren't up to the task of going for the kill, as PG summarized quite well.

"A lot of stuff that we gave up tonight was preventable," Paul George said."The game was set up, the same way as Game 1, for us to rally back to win this game, but we weren't tied in, I think our focus was lost. We gave up some plays that we really shouldn't have and they outworkded us. That's everything that we can control and we didn't do so tonight."

Now the Pacers return home with the pressure to recapture the series lead in Game 3 on Thursday. Hopefully, the friendly surroundings and fired up Fieldhouse will help the likes of C.J. Miles, George Hill and Rodney Stuckey to find a groove and keep the Pacers offense rolling for all 48. But more importantly at this point, the bigs have to find away to neutralize Valanciunas or at least get in the neighborhood of neutralizing the big fella.

DeMar DeRozan will start throwing shots in at some point in this series and the Pacers certainly don't want to get him going while focusing all of their efforts on Valanciunas. Despite the loss, what the Pacers are trying to do defensively isn't broke, they just need to do it better.

Check out the links:

Game Rewind: Pacers 87, Raptors 98 (Game 2) | Indiana Pacers

Postgame: Paul George Press Conference (Game 2) | Indiana Pacers

Pacers Gain Split, but Have a Big Problem in Valanciunas | Indiana Pacers

KRAVITZ: Unpredictable Pacers, predictable result: Raptors grab - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Doyel: Paul George (probably) can't beat the Raptors by himself

Insider: Obscure Raptors beating Pacers

Raptors putting puzzle together, piece by piece, to Pacers’ chagrin: Arthur | Toronto Star

Valanciunas the centre of attention as Raptors even series with Pacers | Toronto Star

Pacers vs. Raptors 2016 final score: Bench dominance allows Toronto to even the series - SBNation.com

Raptors even series with 98-87 win over Pacers - Raptors HQ

Indiana Pacers Nearly KO'd by Raptors Early Then KO'd Late

Paul George needing backup as series moves to Indy | Vigilant Sports