Raptors ride hot hand of DeRozan, beat Pacers
TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan was in familiar territory when he scored 26 points and added five assists and five rebounds to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 120-115 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.
It is the expected. Not so expected was the career-best output of 18 points by reserve forward Jakob Poeltl, who also had six rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. His previous best had been 14 points.
“Jakob was great,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “It was tough to take him out at the end. He was dog-tired, but I thought he did a heck of a job.”
The Raptors bench continues to make its mark. Fred VanVleet had 11 points and six assists and Norman Powell also had 10 points off the bench.
“That’s what we’re trying to do,” Poeltl said. “If our starters are doing a good job of and get a lead, we are trying to go out there and make it even better, especially against the benches that maybe aren’t as good as ours.”
It was the third win in a row for the Raptors (14-7) and the second straight loss for the Pacers (12-11), who had a season-best 36 points, seven rebounds and six assists from Victor Oladipo.
“I was just trying to do whatever it takes to keep us going, keep us in the game,” the Pacers guard said.
The Raptors took a five-point lead into the fourth quarter and expanded it to 13 near the midway point of the period.
Darren Collison hit a 3-pointer but missed the free throw after a technical foul was called on Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and the Raptors led by nine with 4:13 left.
Collison reduced the Toronto lead to five points with 1:45 to play with a layup. After stopping the Raptors twice, the Pacers could not score on the ensuing possessions.
DeRozan made two free throws with 27.1 seconds left and Toronto led by seven.
“I didn’t think that we played the game the right way,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought offensively we didn’t have the ball movement. I thought we were taking some tough shots. I thought our mind was more on the offensive end ... as opposed to focusing on defending, getting stops and working together.”
Lowry added 11 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for Toronto and Serge Ibaka had 15 points and eight rebounds and Jonas Valanciunas added 13 points and seven rebounds.
Myles Turner added 17 points and six rebounds for the Pacers while Collison had 16 points, five rebounds and six assists. Thaddeus Young scored 12 points with seven rebounds and Lance Stephenson scored 11 points.
The Raptors had a 70-44 advantage in points scored in the paint. Oladipo felt that was significant.
“There’s no question about it,” Oladipo said. “Nothing else. Yeah, we missed shots. Yeah, we maybe could have taken better shot selections, but at the end of the day we can really control a lot on that end. We didn’t do that great a job tonight, we’ve got to do better.
“They did a great job of playing on both ends, obviously. They did a great job moving the, ball so credit them for that.”
The Pacers led 32-28 after the first quarter. The Raptors closed out the first half on a 10-0 run to take a 65-58 lead into the intermission.
“We came out extremely aggressive,” DeRozan said. “Everyone was in attack mode. We missed a lot more shots in the paint that were easy shots that we normally make.”
The Raptors were outscored 31-29 in the third quarter, but avoided the drastic swoons in the third that had marked three of their previous four games.
“I was really pleased with the way we came out in the third quarter,” Casey said. “But we have to create a habit, this is just one game.”
The Raptors led by 10 points after Ibaka hit a 3-pointer with 7:08 to play in the third quarter.
The lead was down to five after Turner made two free throws with 4:08 to play in the quarter. Ibaka answered with another 3-pointer.
Former Raptors guard Cory Joseph hit a 3-pointer to finish the scoring in the third, which ended with Toronto leading, 94-89.
NOTES: Raptors reserve C Lucas Nogueira (right calf muscle tear) will be out for an undetermined period after being treated with a platelet-rich plasma injection to enhance the healing of the torn muscle in his right calf. The injury occurred in the fourth quarter of the win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. ... Pacers C Myles Turner (sore right knee), who was listed as a game-time decision, was in the starting lineup after Friday. ... Indiana defeated Toronto 107-104 last Friday. ... The Pacers will open a six-game homestand Monday when they host the New York Knicks. ... The Raptors will end a three-game homestand Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns.