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Raptors Can’t Keep Pace with Pacers, Lose 107-104

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Toronto comes up short in a close one in Indiana.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Indiana Pacers
Norman Powell guards Lance Stephenson
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The East is Improving and the Toronto Raptors are figuring that out the hard way. Toronto fell in a 107-104 nail-biter to the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday.

The Raptors were coming off of a disappointing loss to the new-look New York Knicks in a game that contained debatably the worst quarter of basketball the franchise has ever seen. A 28-0 run helped the Knicks outscore Toronto 41-10 in the frame. Tonight’s game against the Pacers featured far too much of the same. The first quarter alone saw a 12-0 Pacers run, followed by a 13-0 Pacers run. Another poor third quarter caused a double-digit lead to morph into a deficit heading to the fourth. The loss brings Toronto to 0-2 on the road trip.

Lance Stephenson’s back-to-back late threes stretched Indiana’s lead to 11. Stephenson contributed 18 points on the night, but the timing of those points couldn’t have been better for his Pacers. His stare down three over Norman Powell with just over a minute left put Toronto out of reach.

Victor Oladipo led the Pacers in scoring with 21 points in 29 minutes on the court. Bojan Bogdanovic contributed 19 points in his 39 minutes of action, despite finishing 1-of-5 from deep on the night.

Kyle Lowry’s 24 points led the way for the Raptors. He also added eight assists and ten rebounds in his 40 minutes. It seemed every time Indiana was poised to go on a run, Lowry would come up with one of his three clutch steals, five timely three-pointers, or momentum-shifting charges. His efforts fell just short tonight as backcourt mate, DeMar DeRozan, was held to just 13 points.

Cory Joseph was held off of the scoresheet in his first game against his former team. He had only three field goal attempts in 18 minutes, finishing a minus-16 on the night.

Toronto will be anticipating the release of the League’s L2M report after a pair of questionable non-calls in the game's final few possessions. DeRozan was the victim of two blatant shoves from Lance Stephenson on near consecutive trips. DeRozan was also contacted by Bojan Bogdanovic on Toronto’s attempt to tie the game with just seconds remaining. Though the whistle was an unfavorable one for the Raptors down the stretch, Toronto will likely be disappointed they put themselves in such a situation.

Young Raptors Fred VanVleet and Jakob Poeltl continue to impress despite the loss. VanVleet finished a game-high plus-19, while going 6-of-8 from the field with a pair of three-pointers. Poeltl provided the defense that Valanciunas lacked against mobile bigs — Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. His plus-16 was second to only VanVleet’s net rating on the night. He even surprised us all with a…

Yes it was, Koen. And it was beautiful.

Toronto looks to end its road trip with a win against the Atlanta Hawks tomorrow night at Phillips Arena.