As the Raptors battled to get their own field goal percentage up to 40%, they worked even harder to chip Indiana’s back down to 40%.
The process was made more difficult by another horrid performance from the top-scoring duo of Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan.
For the third game in a row, the pair couldn’t get on track offensively.
Bargnani, 14-for-47 over his past two games, was a dismal 3-for-15 in this one as was DeRozan, who was coming off of a 7-for-25 line over his past two appearances.
“That’s the game right there,” summed up Bargnani.
“If we go 6-for-30, we can’t win. The team needs us.”
Triano said he kept Bargnani in for Davis down the stretch because they needed scoring, which Davis doesn’t yet provide.
But when they aren’t hitting shots that they freely admit are decent looks, DeRozan and especially Bargnani are preventing the team from winning because of their failings elsewhere.
Though Triano is clearly still behind them.
“Yeah, it’s my fault probably because I had to play the (crap) out of them nine games in a row because we had no other bodies and they’re probably worn down a little bit,” Triano said of the Raptors’ struggles.
“I had to play them then, I have to play them now, they have to learn to fight through this. They’re very good basketball players and they’re learning how to play where they’re the dominant scorers.”
Remember when DeMar DeRozan was lighting up the league in early January? Or when Andrea Bargnani was pouring in 20 points a night without working up a sweat?
Not so much now.
In their last three games, Bargnani has been a combined 17-for-62 from the floor and DeRozan’s been a miserable 10-for-40, and there is no way Toronto can win with that kind of production from its two top players.
The Raptors probably aren’t enough to win many games if just one of those two has a good game and the other is quiet; they need them both to break out at the same time to snap this ugly slide.
It’s been more recent than over the course of the entire losing streak but Toronto’s offence has been horrible.
Only three times over the 12 games — an overtime loss to Milwaukee, a blowout loss in Miami and the first loss way back on Jan. 12 — have the Raptors scored more than 100 points.
They set a season-low by shooting just 33 per cent from the field Saturday in Minnesota and missed a plethora of open looks, shooting just 41 per cent in Indiana on Monday.
“I think it’s just confidence. We have to keep shooting and we’ll be back,” said Jose Calderon. “There is nothing you can do about making shots; it’s not like you’re forcing shots all the time. It’s wide open shots, we were making those shots, now they don’t want to go in when the thing goes bad.”
Amir Johnson led Toronto with 18 points, and Jose Calderon and Ed Davis added 13. Andrea Bargnani, Toronto’s leading scorer this season, finished with 12 points on 3-for-15 shooting.
An off night by Danny Granger, Indiana’s top scorer, didn’t slow the Pacers. Granger scored 11 points, but the Pacers outrebounded the Raptors 56-38 to make up for committing 25 turnovers.
Indiana led 48-28 in the second quarter before the Raptors went on a 13-0 run that helped them trim the Pacers’ advantage to 51-45 at halftime.
Toronto scored the first six points of the second half to tie the score at 51, but Hibbert made two straight baskets to give Indiana the lead again. Granger scored seven points in a run that pushed the Pacers’ lead to 67-59. The Pacers led 75-70 at the end of the third quarter.
Hibbert scored in close, then made two free throws to extend Indiana’s lead to 91-82 with just under six minutes remaining. A long pass from Josh McRoberts turned into a dynamic one-handed alley-oop jam by George that pushed the lead to 11 points.
It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination. The Raptors simply aren’t a good basketball team right now, but after jumping out to a 20-point second quarter lead, the Pacers let off the gas and started letting go of the basketball in bunches.
A 23-3 run by Toronto eventually tied the game early in the third quarter and then the bulk load of turnovers by the Pacers kept the game a little too close for the remainder of the game. In fact, the Pacers were fortunate to win a game after turning the ball over 25 times. But the close game also had the benefit of forcing Vogel to coach the full 48 minutes and make decisions down the stretch.
The Raptors (13-36) closed to within six by halftime and tied the score at 51-51 early in the third quarter.
Forward Amir Johnson scored 18 points for the Raptors, who are on a 12-game losing streak.
Collison had six turnovers, Hibbert turned it over five times and Granger had four.
"That’s really bad," said Granger, who went 3-of-15 from the field.
"A lot of it was because we were put in situations that we haven’t been put in before. There’s going to be a learning curve, but we’ll take those down some."
Rookie Paul George had 11 of his 16 points while playing the entire fourth quarter, when the Pacers got their lead back up to double figures.
"We pulled this one off," Collison said.
"We let the lead get away but got our composure together and won."
The Toronto Raptors are a mess this season and I do not blame them. They have so much young potential and a chance to become a top notch team with players such as Andrea Bargnani, Demar Derozan and Jary’d Bayless having career seasons.
The Raptors are in rebuild mode and should be expected to stay like this for the next year as well unless a giant turnaround happens.
Including their last loss to Memphis in a close game, the Raptors have used 13 different starting lineups this season. Injuries and sickness have kept the Raptors from winning games and becoming possible 8th seed contenders in a horrible Eastern Conference.
This article will showcase different lineups the Raptors can use at any time during games, not just as a starting lineup.
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