The Indiana Pacers fell to the Toronto Raptors by a score of 98-87 Monday night. With the Raptors win, the series is now tied 1-1 with the Pacers returning home for game 3.
The Indiana Pacers will return home for game three on Thursday night as they look to regain the series lead with a hopeful victory. After losing game one at home the Raptors had their backs against the wall and could feel the pressure of the entire city of Toronto and Canada as a whole. They could not afford to fall behind two games as they headed to Indianapolis, and the way they played Monday night reflected that.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey decided to integrate DeMarre Carroll into the starting lineup to try to contain Paul George‘s scoring. Even though Carroll caught two early fouls with roughly nine minutes remaining in the first quarter and only scored two points the entire game, his absence didn’t hurt the Raptors much.
The Raptors took a 27-16 point lead at the end of the first quarter while shooting 42-percent from the floor. The Pacers shot just 26-percent over the same span.
The Raptors lead by as much as 18 points in the first half, but the Pacers’ play eventually picked up as they cut the lead to just five with a little over four minutes to go before halftime. Unfortunately for Indiana, that was the closest that they would get throughout the rest of the game.
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Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan continued their shooting struggles against the Pacers, shooting a combined nine-of-31 from the floor. That wasn’t enough for the Pacers to keep things interesting however, as both Cory Joseph and Patrick Patterson scored in double figures.
The Pacers couldn’t get much of anything out of their players not named Paul George or Monta Ellis. Lavoy Allen scored a putrid two points in 21 minutes of action, Ian Mahinmi scored only five points and was zero-for-six from the floor and George Hill had four points in 31 minutes.
If the Pacers want to have any chance of having success this series, their remaining starters need to effectively contribute more so than they did in game two. Period. Common sense would show that having just two of a team’s five starters effectively contributing — especially against a team as stacked as the Raptors — is a recipe for disaster. The Pacers found that out the hard way in Monday’s loss.
If the Pacers wish to get the victory on Thursday night, it is critical that they get solid contributions from the bench and their entire starting unit. Otherwise the Pacers could be in for a rude awakening and find themselves watching the remainder of the playoffs from home.