For a second straight game, the Indiana Pacers struggled to find the necessary rhythm against their opponent, but unlike the game against Orlando, they didn’t get the late game heroics necessary to overcome it. The Pacers came up empty in the final minute against the Toronto Raptors, allowing Toronto to close out the win.
The Raptors zeroed in on Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon, holding Indiana’s top two player to 6-32 shooting for 22 points. Both struggled in the final minute, as Brogdon was unable to get a shot up against a (grabby) Fred VanVleet with 20 seconds left and then drove and dished to Sabonis on the next possession down three only to have Sabonis blocked twice on his shot attempts at the rim.
It was the perfect ending to a game where Toronto completely took away the advantages from those two guys, especially in Sabonis. Sabonis finished 1-10 for the game and went scoreless in the second half after doing the bulk of his work at the free throw line in the first half (a solid 8-8!).
On the other end, OG Anunoby led the way in attacking Sabonis at the rim, leading to a 30-point outing for him. It was the perfect storm for the Raptors to not only take away Sabonis offensively, but to successfully attack him on the other end, minimizing the damage Myles Turner could (and did do) on the defensive end.
Brogdon on the other hand, was hounded all game long, and responded poorly in the first half especially. He, and the Pacers as a whole, seemed to sleepwalk through the half, struggling to find their footing with the early tip. That led to 13 first half turnovers and 20 points off turnovers for Toronto, helping them build a double digit lead.
The second half trended back towards the Pacers after they treaded water for a bulk of the third, getting some nice energy plays from Justin Holiday and T.J. McConnell. As a team, they struggled to put it together until Turner took charge to finally put them in the lead early in the fourth.
Turner had 13 of his 25 points in the fourth, hitting a pair of threes and completing an and-one late to overcome an eight-point Toronto lead after the Pacers had briefly taken the lead on a Turner layup. Turner also had six blocks on the night, leading the Pacers with four made threes (Holiday had four as well).
Jeremy Lamb also played well again, scoring 13 points, hitting a three to open the fourth to put Indiana ahead, briefly. The briefly part of their leads is important to note because the Raptors put themselves in position to get buckets and stops at the exact moments they needed to, much like the Orlando game.
The Pacers, meanwhile, did a poor job getting that necessary stop. They quickly put the Raptors into the bonus in the fourth, sending Toronto the line five separate times in the back half of the quarter. The Raptors had four misses in that stretch, but one point per trip was more than they needed in helping them preserve their eight point lead.
This was not only the worst game of the year for Brogdon and Sabonis, but the worst overall team performance in field goal shooting (40.2%) and turnovers (19). The Raptors limited the Pacers to 40 points in the paint and outscored them 26-16 in points off turnovers. Indiana’s go-to successes were taken away and the three point shot didn’t fall at a rate high enough to make up for it.
The Pacers have now lost three of their last four, including 1-2 in their current home stand. The Pacers are now 5-5 at home, the worst mark of any above .500 team in the East. They’ll wrap up this current home stand tomorrow night when they face the Raptors again on the second night of a back-to-back, looking to earn the split before a pair of games in Charlotte.