Unfortunately for the Toronto Raptors, NBA games are marathons, not sprints.
Toronto seemed poised to run away with the game after opening up a 21-point lead after six minutes of play, but the Indiana Pacers quickly erased that and cruised to a 106-90 victory.
Reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week DeMar DeRozan and fellow backcourt mate Kyle Lowry scored 20 points apiece as the Raptors' four-game win streak came to an end.
Jordan Hill led the way for the Pacers with 20 points and 13 rebounds while Monta Ellis chipped in with 18 of his own. With the victory, Indiana snapped a five-game losing skid against Toronto.
Despite taking the floor for their second contest (maybe not the right word when the first one was against the Philadelphia 76ers) in as many nights, the Raptors weren’t messing around early, running out to a 15-3 advantage after three and a half minutes. Three minutes later and the Raptors had stretched their lead to 26-5, prompting another Indiana timeout.
The fun times came to a crashing halt after that as the Pacers responded by exploiting the Raptors’ lack of second-unit offence with a devastating 22-0 run and only trailed by one after a wild first 12 minutes.
Indiana continued stepping on its visitors’ throats as the second quarter began, scoring the first 10 points of the frame. The Pacers maintained their level of play while the Raptors maintained their ineptitude for the duration of the period as Dwane Casey and his crew entered halftime down by 11.
When expanding Indiana’s impressive scoring run over the two quarters, it was a 39-4 stretch. The benches were the major factors as the Pacers’ reserves outscored their counterparts 25-0 to start the game.
With an overmatched Luis Scola attempting to guard him, C.J. Miles made sure the Raptors didn’t gain any hope to start the third, answering seemingly every successful DeRozan jumper with a bucket of his own as Indiana pushed its lead to 18.
A questionable flagrant foul on George Hill and an early trip into the bonus helped the Raptors temporarily stay within striking distance. DeRozan nailed a three at the third-quarter buzzer to trim the deficit to nine heading into the final quarter.
But there was no fourth-quarter comeback in store for the Raptors as Paul George, who had a quiet night by his standards, provided the dagger, hitting a three-pointer to put Indiana up by 17 with 7:30 to play.
Now the Raptors move on to Charlotte for a date with the sneakily good Hornets.