Tonight, the Toronto Raptors competed against the league leading Indiana Pacers. The Raps routine was thrown off as they arrived in Indiana this afternoon and perhaps this explained some of the club's rough first quarter. Despite early foul trouble by Paul George, the club couldn't capitalize, and after jumping out to a brief lead, gave up a 16-2 run to end the quarter as the Pacers led 22 to 15 after one. Roy Hibbert and his big presence in the paint intimidated the Raps as Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas were held to zero points.
During the second quarter, Patrick Patterson entered the game and made a difference for the Raptors offense. Toronto went on a 7-0 run and came close to taking back the lead. They relied on their drive and kick to open three point shooters. This game plan appeared to work but unfortunately didn’t last. Poor shooting was an issue as Indiana finished the half shooting 46% compared to Toronto shooting a mere 34%. In fact, during the first quarter, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry were the only ones contributing points for the Raptors.
The strong defence Indiana played in the first half continued as the third quarter began. The Pacers played the Raptors tight and aggressively. This wore out Toronto as they continued to struggle to get to the paint. Lance Stephenson had a successful third quarter; he racked up 7 assists, 8 rebounds and 11 points. The third quarter finished with DeRozan knocking down the last 17 points for the Raptors. The rest of the team joined the fans and watched the DeMar DeRozan show.
During the fourth, Valanciunas finally made his first basket of the game, however he was almost completely shut down by the Pacers, who crushed Toronto on the glass tonight. The Raptors defense consistently kept them in the game, but their offense was never enough to get them within striking distance. Patterson continued with his strong contribution off the bench notching a career high of 20 points, and added on 6 rebounds and 2 assists. DeRozan finished with 28 points, 2 rebounds and 6 assists. The game ended with a final score of 86-79 for Indiana.
· AtAt one point during the game the Pacers were leading the blocks category with eight to none for Toronto. The Raptors did come back and block four. Hibbert and David West finished the game with 3 a piece. Indiana out-rebounded Toronto 53-36. This further highlighted the Raptors struggles in the paint tonight. Valanciunas, bulk up!
Sarah’s Eye: John Salmon’s beard is similar to Jafar’s in Aladdin.