The Indiana Pacers (31-19) hadn’t beaten the defending champions Toronto Raptors (36-14) in Canada in almost three years, yet they were on the brink of snapping that losing skid on February 5. Unfortunately, the streak continued.
Toronto’s Serge Ibaka made a three-pointer with 30 seconds left to lift the Raptors to an improbable 119-118 win over the Pacers. The bucket capped off a scintillating comeback from a 19-point deficit for Toronto.
Prior to the triple, Ibaka missed five in a row from distance, but he made the most meaningful one count. Indiana got off to rip-roaring start. The Blue and Gold outscored Toronto in the first 24 minutes of play, 63-48 and Point guard Malcolm Brogdon paced the visitors with nine first-quarter points.
Indy’s bench brigade got things going in the second quarter with Doug McDermott and Justin Holiday making mincemeat of Toronto’s perimeter defense. The duo combined for six threes during that span and they helped the Pacers establish a 63-48 lead at halftime.
However, the Raptors came to life in the second half. Behind the exploits of Ibaka, Pascal Siakam, and Kyle Lowry, they whittled the lead to 86-82 after 36 minutes.
The Pacers led 118-108 after Justin Holiday’s two free throws with 2:27 left in the game. Unfortunately, Toronto went on a late 11-0 run to send Indiana home disappointed. Despite a 55-22 advantage in bench points, the Pacers gave up 27 points off 19 turnovers.
Lowry led all scorers with 32 points and he also had 10 assists. Ibaka finished with 30 while Siakam had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors.
Brogdon led the Pacers with 24 points. Holiday chipped in with 22 points while McDermott wound up with 19 points. All-Star Domantas Sabonis finished with a triple-double (15 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists) for Indiana.
Raptors Complete Home-and-Home Sweep of Pacers
Following a stinging one-point loss to the Toronto Raptors (37-14) two days earlier, the Indiana Pacers (31-20) had revenge on their minds. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
Despite missing Marc Gasol (hamstring) and Norman Powell (broken finger), Toronto won its 13th straight game. The Raptors beat the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 7, 115-106.
Once again, big man Serge Ibaka was the biggest thorn on Indiana’s side. He scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Backup point guard Fred VanVleet contributed 20 points and seven assists for the defending champions.
It was a seesaw battle in the first half. Toronto led Indiana by just one point at halftime, 64-63.
The teams were deadlocked at 75 apiece when the Raptors went on a 12-3 run late in the third quarter. All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry converted a three-point play and made a triple during that spurt.
The Pacers crept to within two points at 101-99 after Doug McDermott’s layup midway in the fourth quarter. However, Toronto went on a decisive 12-4 run (punctuated by Terence Davis’ dunk) to put the game out of reach.
Davis scored 17 points off the bench for the Raptors. Lowry and O.G. Anunoby each had 16 points for Toronto.
Domantas Sabonis had 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Blue and Gold. Victor Oladipo’s 15 points were the most he’s scored since returning from a year-long absence a week earlier.
Pacers Lose 4th in a Row at Home to Decimated Pelicans
Despite the Indiana Pacers (31-21) resting Victor Oladipo, one would think the Blue and Gold would snap their four-game losing streak against the visiting New Orleans Pelicans (21-31) on February 8.
First off, New Orleans played without their two leading scorers, Zion Williamson (left ankle sprain) and Brandon Ingram (right ankle sprain). Second, T.J. Warren, Indiana’s second-leading scorer (18.2 ppg) who missed the previous three games due to concussion protocol, was back in harness.
Unfortunately, the Pacers’ slide continued. The third Holiday brother, Jrue, torched Indiana for 31 points in a 124-117 victory over the home squad. Holiday scored 14 points in the final 2:26 to break a close game wide open. His triple, which gave the Pelicans a 118-110 lead, put the game out of reach.
Indiana battled back from a 12-point deficit in the second quarter. The Pacers even held a 103=99 lead in the fourth quarter after Jeremy Lamb’s putback. However, Jrue Holiday was too much down the stretch. J.J. Redick complemented him with 23 points off the bench.
Lamb scored 26 points for the Pacers. Warren added 22.
Last-Second Spencer Dinwiddie Bucket Sends Indiana to 6th Straight Loss
The Indiana Pacers (31-22) have lost five games in a row. They’ve also lost four consecutive home games. Will the law of averages favor them against the visiting Brooklyn Nets (23-28) on February 10?
No, it didn’t. Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie’s 21-foot jumper with 5.2 seconds left secured Brooklyn’s 106-105 win over the Pacers. The last-second loss comes just five days after Serge Ibaka’s three-pointer gave the Toronto Raptors a 119-118 win over Indiana at Scotiabank Arena.
Dinwiddie’s game-winning basket was the third lead change in a 27-second span. Joe Harris made a 28-foot three-pointer to give Brooklyn its first lead of the fourth quarter with 27.2 seconds left, 104-103.
Seventeen seconds later, Pacers All-Star power forward Domantas drove past the Nets’ DeAndre Jordan for a layup to give Indiana a 105-104 lead. After Brooklyn called timeout, Dinwiddie struck.
Dinwiddie led eight Nets in double figures with 21 points. He also had 11 assists. Jordan finished with 11 points and 19 rebounds.
Sabonis had another triple-double (23 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists) for Indiana. T.J. Warren scored 19 points for the Pacers.
Pacers Odds Trend Down Against Milwaukee Bucks
The Indiana Pacers (31-23) have lost six straight games entering their showdown against the NBA’s best team, the Milwaukee Bucks (46-7), at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 12. The latter is in danger of losing seven consecutive games, including six in a row at home.
This is certainly not the way the Blue and Gold want to go into the All-Star break. Seven of their eight games before the All-Star break were at home. Indiana had a golden opportunity to gain traction in the Eastern Conference standings.
Instead, the team is searching for answers. One would think the Pacers are better with Victor Oladipo back in tow. It’s apparent the exact opposite is happening. Hopefully, a win over the Bucks (no matter how improbable) will help Indiana going in the right direction.
Milwaukee will play without reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is out for personal reasons. The Bucks will also sit out Indiana native George Hill (hamstring).
On the other hand, Indiana will have a relatively healthy lineup. For the Pacers to win, they must neutralize Bucks sharpshooters Khris Middleton (20.5 ppg) and Eric Bledsoe (15.7 ppg).
Despite Indiana’s intact roster, Pacers odds, Pacers moneyline, and Pacers over/under favor Milwaukee because of the latter’s superior record. Plus, the Bucks have beaten the Pacers by an average of almost 24 points in their past two games.