Big news before this game ever got out of the gate on DeMar DeRozan’s contract. Demar DeRozan is getting paid by the Toronto Raptors. It is for 4 years and 40-44 Million depending on who you heard from on Twitter. The number seems high and who knows it might be. However, you can’t have it both ways people. If you are going to complain about guys leaving, how can you also do the same when they stay? At the very least DeRozan will play hard and try and earn his money. This is a kid that left school early in part to be able to help his mother get better medical care. He is a good kid and he addressed the crowd prior to the game.
Pacers won the tip and wanted to text Jonas going inside to Hibbert and he slapped the ball out of bounds. Pacers would score on the possession though and the Raptors would not. Kyle Lowry gets the first points for the Raptors on the night. He would get a steal and hook up Bargnani with a trip to the line with Raptors down 6-2 early.
Jonas gets a put back shot on a Demar miss and Raptors had first lead of night 8-6. Pacers got a Gerald Green three pointer to go up 11-8 but Bargnani answers with a three of his own he has 7 of Raptors first 11 points. Jonas got take to school by Hibbert to make it 15-13 but active on the glass again finds him a basket. Nice ball movement got Jonas a foul line jumper to give the Raptors a 20-19 lead. This was a high paced game with lots of points Pacers jumped back in front 25-22. Surprising that Terrence Ross enters this game as the first sub along with Ed Davis.
Jonas runs into a bit of foul trouble with 3:03 left in first picking up his second. Amir Johnson with Jose on the floor as well they hook up and make it a one point game with the Pacers leading 26-25. Raptors struggled down the stretch shooting 1-11 and their defence early was not great. When you consider all of that, to only be down 27-25 after one was pretty good for Toronto. Bargnani had 11 in the first quarter. And DeRozan 0-5 with no points not exactly a ringing endorsement for his new contract.
Amir Johnson scored to open the second and this thing was all even at 27. Jose would score to give the Raptors a lead for the first time in awhile. Make it back to back buckets for Jose and Raptors with a 31-27 lead. Stevenson was able to shoot it over Ross for a three pointer. Both coaches seem to have got the message of defense across in the break between the quarters. Pace slowing down and Pacers get back in front 32-31. Raptors get a call not go there way but get a stop and than Lowry three. Pacers answer with their own three and it was 35-34 closing in on mid-point of second quarter. Lowry was on a mission in this second quarter stealing and shooting trying to carry the Raptors on his back. Gets some help from Jose who was on the floor with him for an open three he hits and were tied at 39. Later Lowry goes DeMar going with a highlight worthy Alley Oop. Pacers were starting to pull away a bit though as Hibbert gets an easy two to give them a 46-41 lead.
That Alley-oop might have got DeRozan going he hit’s a jumper to cut it to a three point lead. Kyle Lowry is a heady player draws a foul on three point shot and makes all 3 at the line to make it a three point game. Raptors got this thing back to even and we were seeing a lot of bodies tonight even Aaron Gray who tied it up at 48. That is how it would stay.
Pacers shooting 51.3% will not please Dwane Casey and I am sure that was made clear at halftime. Raptors get the first basket but a quick third foul on Jonas as well. Jonas showed a little something with banging with Hibbert and getting a bucket he has 8 rebound and 8 points. He would get a slam and Lowry steal for a 6-0 run to make it 58-53 Raptors. Toronto’s defense was noticeably better and so was the Raptors overall aggression including Andrea Bargnani. Kyle Lowry draws a charge. Raptors build up a nine point advantage and the Raptors had the crowd all kinds of jacked up. DeMar makes the lead 11 points at mid-point of third. It was a 12-0 run that was snapped by a West basket in the lane. Pacers were in a fight and they would respond but only got Raptors lead down to 6. Raptors really came to play in the third and had an 8 point lead in the third quarter primarily from tough defense.
A wide open three from Augustin on a second chance with the Raptors in zone was from an ideal start to the fourth. It was a sign of things to as the Pacers closed to within 3 points with 9:07 to play. Green airballed a three and the returning to the line-up Kyle Lowry went the other way straight to the hoop drawing contact. Raptors seemed to get back in their mindset of the third when Lowry returned.
Raptors were going with both Lowry and Calderon and Lowry started a play and it ended with a Jose three. Lowry feed Jose again and another three he had 15 off the bench and Raptors lead briefly went to 10 points at 84-74.
Raptors had a line-up of Lowry, Calderon, Anderson, Johnson and Bargnani. Not the line-up you would expect with 5 minutes to play in a game your winning against a team your not suppose to beat. That said it was working and so were the guys on the floor. West was the lone Pacer getting it done he was keeping Pacers hanging around. Roy Hibbert had no points in second half and is getting paid max money but dives to the floor and saves a possession for the Pacers.
Pacers took that extra possession and got a corner three from Hill. Raptors had the starters back in now and Pacers were killing them the lead was down to just one with score 86-85. Raptors were hanging on for dear life but the Pacers had a final surge in them and Hill was at the line with a chance give the Pacers their first lead since early in the third. But he would miss his second at the line and it was tied at 88. DeRozan would drive to bucket and leave a shot short. There was 22.1 seconds and some drama on who gets the ball on a missed Indiana shot that would be ruled the Pacers ball but was being reviewed.
Verdict is Pacers ball and honestly it was tough to call. Hill hit a runner in the lane with 2.1 seconds left to give the Pacers a 90-88 lead. Bargnani would get a contested look in the corner but was not close. Raptors fall to Pacers 90-88 in just a great game despite the result.
Jonas Valanciunas has a double-double in his debut only other Raptor to do that was Mighty Mouse. Kyle Lowry was great in this game. Unfortunately couldn’t get the stop on Hill when it mattered most. It was a tough loss but when you wake up tomorrow you should feel better about it. This was a great team effort for the Raptors and they did show they can compete with almost anyone if they play like that or a little better.