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Pacers final score: Pacers slash through Raptors 118-104

Indiana outscored Toronto 36-14 in the fourth quarter to move back to .500. Buddy Hield scored 22 in the win.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Despite looking down and out numerous times tonight, the Indiana Pacers continued to plug away, eventually breaking through in the fourth quarter to score a comeback win over the Toronto Raptors. The Pacers had a miserable time figuring out how to deal with Toronto’s length, which when combined with a foul-heavy first quarter, put them in a rather precarious position by halftime, trailing by double figures.

It took a while for those issues to catch up to the Pacers, however. Indiana was able to limit Toronto’s shot making early when they weren’t sending them to the foul line, holding them to 30% shooting in the quarter. Unfortunately, five separate Pacers were quickly saddled with two fouls, giving Toronto 16 trips to the line, allowing them to keep things close heading into the second.

Once there, the Raptors, led by Thaddeus Young, were able to find their offense, quickly flipping the game with their favor as the Pacers stumbled to start the quarter. Already down by two, Indiana proceeded to turn the ball over on six of their next eight possessions, as the deficit ballooned to double figures. Even putting in a trio of three pointers to close the half barely moved the needle, putting the Pacers down 65-52 at the break.

Down a game high 15 early in the third quarter, Jalen Smith connected on back-to-back threes and Nick Nurse sat out on calling a timeout, allowing Indiana to rattle off an 18-4 run that made it a one point game midway through the quarter. Toronto appeared to settle the game down in their favor, completing a 9-0 run to push it back to double figures, but Bennedict Mathurin gave Indiana’s offense a shot in the arm, scoring seven in the final three minutes and change to keep it a single digit game heading into the fourth.

In the fourth, whether Indiana finding their footing or the Raptors beginning to feel fatigue, the Pacers took control of matters, taking the lead halfway through the quarter and never looking back. Oshae Brissett provided a huge spark, scoring six straight to cut the lead to one, eventually giving Indiana the lead at the free throw line.

In the interim, Mathurin and Isaiah Jackson provided the rest of the scoring punch to put the Pacers on top, getting an early call to turn out the lights when Tyrese Haliburton, struggling all night shooting, connected on a deep three with 3:20 remaining to extend the lead out to six.

Toronto didn’t have a response, especially when Buddy Hield poured in eight late points to wrap things up nicely, closing out a 3-1 home stand and moving back to .500. Tonight proved a total team effort in coming away with the win, with Hield leading the way with 22 points, hitting five threes.

The Pacers shot 19-43 overall from three point range, including 11-22 in the second half. The Raptors meanwhile struggled on their end, shooting just 3-23 from deep. That proved to be all the difference Indiana needed, even as they continued to struggle with turnovers well into the second half, finishing with 21 for the game, giving Toronto 22 points off turnovers.

It was a particularly interesting performance from Haliburton, who had little to say as a scorer, but remained engaged in the game, dishing a season high 15 assists and finishing an impressive +26, though playing all 12 minutes of a 36-14 quarter will do that. His lone three pointers came in the fourth quarter, including the deep triple late, finishing with eight points.

Haliburton has traditionally struggled as a scorer against Toronto and had his fits throughout the night not only in trying to score, but in having a number of his passes snuffed out, which surprisingly only resulted in three turnovers. Haliburton found six different Pacers on the night, eight of which resulting in three pointers. There was a brief scare in the third quarter when Haliburton appeared to turn his ankle, forcing him out of the game for the final four minutes of the third, but he returned in the fourth, immediately hitting his first three of the game.

Myles Turner continues to play extremely well, completing his third straight double double with 19 points and 10 boards, hitting two of his three threes and blocking two shots. Turner led the way for the Pacers at the free throw line, hitting seven of his eight attempts as Indiana smoothed out the massive free throw differential the best they could, finishing just -6 for the night.

It was also a big night from Jalen Smith, who finished the night with 16 points on 6-11 shooting. Nine of those came in the first quarter, going 4-5 before then connecting on the back-to-back threes that sparked some life into the Pacers early in the third. Andrew Nembhard also hit a pair of threes, including a nice opening triple that looked as if it might relieve some of Toronto’s defensive pressure, but foul trouble quickly changed that. He scored eight.

Off the bench, Mathurin led the way with 15, 13 coming in the second half. It took a while for him to find some success, starting the night 0-5. With foul trouble mounting in the backcourt after T.J. McConnell picked up two quick fouls, Aaron Nesmith came into the game late in the first, connecting on a pair of corner threes to help give Indiana the lead heading into the second. He finished with 10.

McConnell proved a key piece of Indiana’s fourth quarter success, dishing five of his six assists to open the quarter, two going to Brissett. Brissett scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter, turning a seven point deficit into a one point lead in that time. He worked well with Isaiah Jackson, who had six of his 10 in the quarter as well, pulling in four rebounds as the Pacers won the quarter 15-6 to give them the rebounding edge for the game.

Though Toronto was on the second night of a back-to-back and were missing a number of key players, the Pacers had to claw their way back into it, picking up a winning home stand in process. Indiana moves to 6-6 on the year and have a rather interesting stretch of games coming up, playing three teams with a combined 9-30 in their next four games.

Two games away from the Fieldhouse will start matters deep into next week, as they face the Charlotte Hornets for the first time this year on Wednesday, losers of eight straight, but bolstered by the return of LaMelo Ball.