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Quick Reaction: Pacers 91, Raptors 116

A clear wire-to-wire victory for the Raptors against the Pacers. That’s more like it.

Indiana 91 Final
Box Score
116 Toronto

A-
D. Carroll18 MIN, 12 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 4-7 FG, 4-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 5 +/-Clearly had his legs into his three-pointers, and seemed confident shooting it every time. His defense on George was somewhat non-existent, but given we don’t really view Carroll as a shut-down stopper anymore, I’ll take the offensive effort any day.

A-
S. Ibaka24 MIN, 16 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 7-11 FG, 2-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 6 +/-One of the best two-way players in this game. Started the game going a perfect 4/4 from the field, including 2 shots from deep which really set the offensive tone for the Raptors. He also had 2 nasty blocks, which was huge in creating a defensive tone.

A+
J. Valanciunas24 MIN, 11 PTS, 13 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 4-8 FG, 0-0 3FG, 3-4 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 9 +/-Made the Pacers relive some of their nightmares from the first round series last year, asserting himself as clearly the most imposing force on the floor. Nearly had a double-double in the first quarter alone, and while it was clear Indiana made adjustments as the game went on, I loved his continuous effort on the offensive glass (6 OREB).

A
C. Joseph31 MIN, 11 PTS, 4 REB, 9 AST, 1 STL, 5-9 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 4 TO, 9 +/-With Kyle out, I usually judge Cory’s games by 2 things – assists and defense. And he checked out on both fronts tonight, with 11 points to top it off.

B
D. DeRozan29 MIN, 22 PTS, 3 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 9-19 FG, 1-2 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 11 +/-Shot it well in the first half, kept his offense in the flow of the game, and avoided the Paul George isolation scenarios which is what he’s got to avoid in future matchups as well. But had some forced shots and turnovers in the second half that allowed the Pacers to creep back into the game in the third.

A+
P. Tucker26 MIN, 9 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 4-9 FG, 1-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 20 +/-Had some great defensive stops against George (including an awesome charge-take) and Monta Ellis. You’ve got to absolutely love what this guy brings from an energy and leadership perspective – sure, he didn’t stuff the stat sheet, but his presence on the floor makes a noticeable difference in the Raptors’ effort.

B+
D. Wright24 MIN, 4 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 2-6 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 21 +/-Played with the Basketball IQ that we’re used to seeing from Delon, with some great reads, taking a charge, and not forcing anything offensively. Other than an air-ball 3, his game was mostly smooth tonight.

A
J. Poeltl23 MIN, 12 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 4-6 FG, 0-0 3FG, 4-4 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, 14 +/-This was a break-out game for Poeltl,who showed some of the promise that made him the 9th overall pick. Showed great hands on cuts to the rim, contributed on the offensive glass, and joined the block party with 2 of his own (should’ve been 3, but was whistled for a bogus call on Glenn Robinson III).

B+
P. Patterson19 MIN, 8 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 2-3 FG, 2-3 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 17 +/-It’s really getting depressing doing these reactions and having to write the same things about Patman almost every time. But the two three pointers tonight were big, and helped the Raptors put the Pacers away in the third. Not to mention, he was still a +17.

C
N. Powell14 MIN, 11 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 4-11 FG, 1-6 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 9 +/-Had a few empty trips to the rack early, and hung his head resulting a few missed open threes. But I liked Norm’s aggression, continuing to go to the rack at every opportunity.

B-
L. Nogueira5 MIN, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-Bebe was finally freed tonight by Dwane Casey, but it didn’t mean much late in the contest. A missed three was pretty much all that came of it.

B+
F. VanVleet3 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-Garbage time.

A
Dwane Casey For the first time in a while, the Raptors showed a clear effort on both ends of the floor, with excellent movement offensively and a clear defensive effort in both halves. I also loved Casey’s decision to keep DeMar, Serge, and JV on the bench to close the game, playing Poelt and Delon to close it out. Tonight was clearly an effort win, but Casey deserves credit for rallying the troops.

FIVE THINGS WE SAW

  1. All-around effort: The effort was clear on both ends of the floor tonight, as the Raptors held the Pacers to just 41% from the field, and shot it at 50% themselves. These kinds of two-sided efforts have been so few and far between in the calendar year 2017, and if an embarrassing performance against OKC is what was needed to get this team to smarten up, so be it.
  2. The three was the key: It’s no surprise the Raptors’ offense was back tonight – sometimes it’s just as simple as looking beyond the arc, where the Raptors were 12/27 for the game, fueled by the hot shooting of DeMarre Carroll (4/7), Serge Ibaka (2/3) and Patrick Patterson (2/3). Matt Devlin would be proud of this kind of depth in analysis.
  3. Containing Paul George: The Raptors kept Paul George in check all night. Aside from going under on a couple of screens and losing him for a few jumpers, the tenacious defense of PJ Tucker was simply awesome. After the haunting memories of seeing this guy light up the Raptors in every game of the playoff series last year, it was refreshing to see the defensively-upgraded Raptors make key stops time and time again.
  4. JV = Just Vicious: If the Raptors have aspirations of the third seed in the East, Indiana could easily be a first round matchup. And while nothing would be taken for granted for the Raptors in the playoffs, one thing is almost certain – JV will absolutely dominate as we have seen in so many matchups against the Pacers.
  5. Rebounding: With the rangy but thin front line of Thaddeus Young and Miles Turner, the Raptors just dominated the glass, out-rebounding Indiana 51-33 in the contest. That included 14 offensive rebounds, thanks to JV (6), and the tap-outs of Jakob Poeltl. Effort plays that made a huge impact in the final score.
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