George cries foul as Pacers lose in Toronto
Paul George picked up five fouls and scored just 18 points. (Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan scored 22 points in three quarters, and all five Toronto starters were in double figures as the Raptors beat the Indiana Pacers 116-91 on Sunday night.
DeRozan added four assists and three rebounds and was able to rest the entire fourth quarter as the Raptors cruised to their second straight victory. Serge Ibaka had 16 points, while Jonas Valanciunas finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds as the Raptors improved to 41-29.
Paul George had 18 points and Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young added 16 apiece for the Pacers, who lost to Toronto for the eighth time in the last nine regular-season meetings. It was the first meeting between the teams since Game 7 of last year's first-round playoff series, which was won by Toronto. They face each other twice more over the next two weeks.
The Raptors took the lead for good midway through the first quarter and were ahead 62-45 after two quarters, their largest halftime lead in more than two months.
“I thought the physicality of the game tonight they brought it and we didn’t respond to that defensively,” said Pacers coach Nate McMillan. “They came out with a lot of energy, a lot of scrap and got stops, were able to get out in transition, and pound the boards. Our motor tonight, in a game that’s as important as tonight’s game and the rest of the season, I don’t have an explanation for that.
“Their physicality took us out of what we wanted to do offensively and they pounded the boards. I thought they were attacking, I thought we allowed them to go wherever they wanted to and you can’t do that against a really good team such as Toronto.”
Toronto took a 91-73 lead into the final 12 minutes, as rookie center Jakob Poeltl had six points in the third quarter. The Raptors bench outscored their Indiana counterparts 13-7 in the period.
DeRozan led all scorers in the opening half, shooting 6 for 10 from the field, including converting the only 3-pointer he attempted, on the way to 16 points. The Raptors were 6 for 15 on 3s in the first half while the Pacers hit just 2 of 11 from deep.
Toronto led 32-24 after the first quarter, shooting 54 percent from the field to Indiana's 39 percent. The Raptors also outrebounded the Pacers 20-5 in the opening 12 minutes.
Valanciunas set the tone for the Raptors with eight points and nine rebounds in the opening quarter, while Ibaka made 4-of-5 field goal attempts, including a pair of 3s, for 10 points.
George battled foul trouble, picking up five in less than 32 minutes.
“It took me out of my whole game, especially in the beginning when it is one-sided,” he said. “Guys guarding me, their whole gameplan is to be physical and make everything tough and guys don’t get fouls for it. On my end, I pick up cheap ones or and-ones. It’s frustrating fighting that battle as well as getting the matchup of having their team’s best defender on me, plus having to score. There is just so much energy getting put into it. It is frustrating, it’s very frustrating.”
Pacers: The Pacers have lost six consecutive regular-season road games in Toronto. . Indiana came in ranked 8th in the NBA in 3-point percentage at 37 percent. . The Pacers are 7-15 when scoring fewer than 100 points.
Raptors: Valanciunas had his team-leading 26th double-double of the season. . Toronto dominated on the glass, outrebounding Indiana 51-33. . The Raptors had 12 3s, while the Pacers had just six.
Pacers: Indiana returns home to take on Utah on Monday night, having lost three straight to the Jazz.
Raptors: Toronto hosts Chicago on Tuesday night looking to end an 11-game losing streak to the Bulls.