Roy Hibbert scored 20 points for the Pacers and George Hill added 14 in his return to the lineup.
Indiana used a 10-0 run coming out of the break to take an eight-point lead, outscoring the Raptors 28-13 in the third quarter.
George scored five points during the run, including a 3 that gave Indiana a 54-46 lead. He hit another 3 at the buzzer to make it 72-59 going into the fourth quarter. A surge from Toronto got it as close as six late in the game.
Toronto’s Rudy Gay led all scorers with 30 points in the loss.
The game was back-and-forth early until a 12-0 run from Toronto. Gay hit a mid-ranger jumper to ignite the run and followed that with a 3-pointer.
After a shot-clock turnover from Indiana, DeMar DeRozan drove baseline on the ensuing possession and converted a reverse layup.
The run was capped when DeRozan stole the ball from George and passed it to Kyle Lowry, who hit a streaking Landry Fields for the hoop and a foul. He converted the three-point play and Indiana trailed 32-22 after the first quarter.
The Pacers then made a 12-0 run early in the second quarter, thanks in large part to the back-court of Hill and Orlando Johnson, who hit back-to-back 3s to tie the game with 7:16 remaining.
Toronto led 46-42 before Hibbert went to the top of the key, received the inbounds from Johnson and hit a fadeaway jumper as time expired.
The Indiana lead grew to as many as 16 early in the final quarter, but the Raptors cut it to single-digits late.
The Pacers started 6-0 for the first time since 1970-71 when the franchise was in the ABA.
Amir Johnson had 12 points and 10 rebounds while Lowry added 12 points and eight assists for Toronto, which lost its third consecutive game.
NOTES: Toronto is now 9-25 all-time against the Pacers in Indiana … This was the first of four meetings between the two teams … Both teams are back in action Saturday with Indiana on the road at Brooklyn and Toronto hosting Utah.
“I’m proud of the effort in the second half. With our transition defense and Rudy Gay, we tightened the screws on those two things in the second half. We had a better strategy on Rudy the second half. We had to take him away from some of his spots. (On George Hill) I really just wanted to get his feet wet. He was available if needed (in the fourth quarter). We want to come out and dominate every quarter but it’s not like we’re getting destroyed in the first half. (On Brooklyn) I’ve seen them play a few times and they’ve got some firepower. You know with Kevin Garnett they are going to be a good defensive team. They’re going to be among the best of the best in the East.”
“(On playing tonight) It felt great to be out there and be able to contribute today. We’re not near were we need to be and we will have to continue to improve. Again it was fun being back out there. (On the third quarter) We tried to get stops because we knew we couldn’t win without them. We knew they would keep coming at us and we had to hold them off to get the win. (On the 6-0 start) This goes all the way back to training camp and preseason games. We worked on our defense and worked on helping each other out.”
“(On the 6-0 start) It feels good. We’re just taking one game at a time. That’s the best thing we can do. It’s teamwork, relying on one another, the chemistry we have. It’s our whole DNA and makeup, everybody from the coaching staff on down to every guy on the roster. We’re all on the same page and we all have bought into what we want to get accomplished. (On the Pacers’ third quarter surge) Defense. Defense once again.”
“(On the team having a rough start but a strong finish) There’s a lot of confidence being built, but still, we can’t be comfortable. (On having strong players to get the ball to) It’s just good to have players like that where you can throw them the ball and see where they can create their own shot, or get a post, or command double teams and kick it out to solid shooters. (On the Pacers’ third quarter surge) It was mostly defense. We came out better and more focused mentally and just executed defensively and executed better offensively. We didn’t need to talk at halftime. We just needed to get refocused and come out with more energy.”