The Raptors were looking to end a three game losing streak and add to the Pacers’ recent woes in the process. They succeeded with little resistance on Friday night.
James Johnson started the game with a hot hand to jump start the Raptors and spark what was a small but energetic crowd of 14 726. The Raps jumped on the Pacers early with a 10-0 first quarter run, and lit up Indiana for 32 in that first quarter.
Toronto continued to build a lead in the second quarter, as Reggie Evans continued to grab every rebound and loose ball in his path and Leandro Barbosa exploded for 18 first half points. On the other side, the only Pacers making any kind of impact were Danny Granger and Tyler Hansbrough. The Raptors found themselves up 14 after putting up 60 points in one of their more impressive first halves of the season.
The Raps got a little sloppy to start the second half, the pace of the game slowed down considerably and the Pacers made their move with Darren Collison taking over in the third quarter. But as was the case at various points in this game, the Raptors bent, but never broke, and were able to sustain a double digit lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Despite getting into early foul trouble in the fourth and seeing the lead dwindle to as little as six, the Raptors hung on for win no. 18. The entire game seemed like the Raptors were on the cusp of blowing the doors off, but never could. In the end though, they were always able to quickly stop a Pacers run and keep a comfortable lead throughout.
The main factors in tonight’s victory were Toronto’s advantage on the glass and another impressive performance by the Raptors’ bench. The Raps out-rebounded the Pacers 46-34, and saw their reserves outscore the Pacers’ bench 46-26. No one was more effective off of the pine than Leandro Barbosa, as the Brazilian Blur enjoyed his best game as a Raptor, pouring in 29 points in 26 minutes.
Reggie Evans and Ed Davis combined to pull down 29 rebounds, with Davis finishing with a double-double.
James Johnson finished with another solid looking, balanced stat-line in 25 minutes, DeMar DeRozan finished with 16 points on 13 field goal attempts and Jose Calderon put up 13 points and eight assists while committing just one turnover.
It really was a complete team effort for the Raptors, as even Joey Dorsey, Sonny Weems and Jerryd Bayless provided quality minutes in the limited floor time they all saw.
Really, the only Raptor who seemed to be labouring through this game was Andrea Bargnani, and that’s likely due to the fact that he is still said to be recovering from the flu. I hope that’s all it was for Andrea, because he seemed a step slow on every possession tonight.
The game even ended with a bit of drama for those who stayed in their seats. Leandro Barbosa tried to convert a layup with the game out of reach and the shot clock turned off in the dying seconds. Granger and Hansbrough seemed to take exception with this, and looked to be talking trash until Reggie Evans came over and sent them away with their tails between their legs.
Raptors Player of the Game: Leandro Barbosa – 26 Min, 29 Pts, 12-21 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 3-4 FT, 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl
Pacers Player of the Game: Danny Granger – 36 Min, 25 Pts, 7-17 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 8-8 FT, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl
Goat of the Game: Roy Hibbert – 21 Min, 4 Pts, 2-5 FG, 0-1 FT, 3 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 TO, 5 PF