That top ranked defense looked pedestrian early on. Led by Rudy Gay, who, finally found his shooting touch early on, the Raptors converted at a 56% clip for 32 points in the first quarter. Did they discover a weakness in the Pacers juggernaut defense? Or were they merely the beneficiary of a lethargic first quarter by the Pacers? The rest of the game suggests the latter. And how!
After trailing by two at the half, Indiana held Toronto to 34% shooting from the field for the entire second half.
Coming into Friday night's affair, Pacers man in the middle Roy Hibbert was averaging 5.2 blocks per game. The Raptors were well cognizant of Hibbert's shot swatting prowess, rarely challenging him the paint. Demar Derozan was perhaps the most obvious casualty of the Hibbert effect, shooting just 2-15 on primarily jump shots. Hibbert recorded 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and 0 fouls. Paul George led the way with 23 points, 8 rebound and 6 assists. But perhaps George's biggest contribution was on the defensive end, where he locked down a red hot Rudy Gay. After starting 9-13, Gay floundered down the stretch, shooting just 3-13. So did the Raptors as whole, falling 91-84 to the now 6-0 Pacers.
Gay finished with 30 points, while Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson were the only other Raptors to finish in double figures with 12 apiece.
Tomorrow night the Raptors will look to end their 3 game slide at home against a Utah Jazz team searching for its first win of the season.
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