Weird, fun game. A lot more interesting a watch than the OKC game the night before. While there wasn’t a hell of a lot of flow in the first half and Toronto was down 14 at the break, the Raps managed to fight back and make an entertaining game out of it. They dug too much of a hole early on to get the win, though. No Pacers were brilliant, but they have depth and much more talent than Toronto. The Raps held both Roy Hibbert and David West to eight points, but Danny Granger and George Hill had 18 apiece. Notes:
- That lack of flow? I’m talking about Toronto, mostly, and I’m talking about the offensive end. There were numerous offensive droughts in the first half. It’s not like the Pacers were unbelievable offensively, but the Raptors only had 10 points with two minutes left in the first quarter. Some of that is the absence of Bargnani, I suppose. But this was very similar to the way the game started in OKC, except Jose Calderon wasn’t bailing the offense out with jump shots.
- It was a solid night for Calderon, however. 14 assists, setting guys up for open jumpers like he always does. Just wasn’t looking for his own scoring. His first basket came about seven minutes into the third quarter. Eight points, 3-for-6 shooting. And his eye still looks terrible. Tough dude.
- Quiet, quiet night for All-Star Roy Hibbert. Those eight points came on five shots in 30 minutes and he totally disappeared at times. He did hit a high-arcing hook in the first quarter, though. Impossible to block. Kurt Rambis would’ve appreciated it.
- There were two A.J. Price-Lou Amundson alley-oops in the first half. See that coming? Here’s the second one:
- Funny: Price got greedy and tried a third one on a fast break. It had no chance.
- In the first quarter, Aaron Gray shot a six-foot floater about three feet. I’m sure you can picture it.
- How do you feel about Gray? I see people making fun of him sometimes, but I kind of think that’s crazy. He’s a minimum contract guy just paid to be big and play hard/physical ball. He’s done that. I wouldn’t mind at all if he came back next season —Jonas Valanciunas cannot be asked to play heavy minutes against the bigger, stronger centers every night in his rookie season.
- Gary Forbes had a nice run in the second quarter where he scored seven of his nine points and had a drive and dish to Gray. I really wonder how many of these wing guys will be back next season. Everybody’s shown a little something.
- Speaking of the wing guys, ALANSANITY! Alan Anderson was on fire. If he keeps this three-point shooting up, there’s no reason he can’t stick in a rotation. 17 points in the game on 6-for-9 shooting. The Raptors cut the lead from 16 to nine in the third quarter and he was the biggest reason why, hitting five shots in a row, three from downtown, before missing his easiest attempt: an open reverse layup off a cut. His form on his long jumpers looks a little strange, but it’s working. And the dude plays tough defense. Love that he’s making the most of this opportunity.
- Toronto started out the third quarter shooting 8-for-9, Indiana 6-7. Wasn’t terrible defense, either. Fun times.
- Gray had to go to the locker room in the third quarter when he hurt his ankle. He came back, though.
- Ben Uzoh didn’t check in until late in the third quarter, with Forbes playing backup PG late in the first and Calderon playing the entire second. It wasn’t completely his fault, but the Raptors’ offense stalled when he came in and the Pacers closed the third on a 6-0 run.
- Big comeback in the fourth quarter — started with Uzoh on the floor, accelerated when Calderon checked back in with just under nine minutes to go. Ed Davis had seven points in three minutes, then was replaced by Aaron Gray and had to watch the rest from the bench. Good effort from Ed, though — 11 points, 10 rebounds, and Jack Armstrong sounded proud of him for making some energy plays. Hope he finishes the season on a high note.
- Remember when Linas Kleiza was the fourth quarter go-to guy without Bargnani? Well, he scored 18 in the fourth. 3-7 fg, but he hit all 10 of his free throw attempts. He hadn’t hit a shot in his four minutes of playing time in the first three quarters.
- Tough night for DeMar DeRozan. He had six points early and finished with just 10. He was on the bench for the entire fourth quarter run and was not a focal point when he came back in with a few minutes left in the fourth. He did get a touch in the midpost on a key possession, but Leandro Barbosa guarded him well and he missed a turnaround.
- Guess who hit the dagger for Indy? Barbosa. His three-pointer with just over two minutes to go made it an eight point game.
- Toronto might’ve been able to take this if it wasn’t for the free throw shooting. Kleiza made the numbers look better — you take away his 10-for-10 and the Raptors shot 6-for-14 on the night from the line.
- Hill had seven rebounds for the Pacers, Paul George had six. Who was the last rebounding guard for the Raptors? It’d be nice to have that, hey? Maybe DeRozan can up those numbers when he puts on some more weight. We’ll see.