If not for the Raptors, the Pacers would be knee-deep in an eight-game winning streak. Instead, that run stands at just two games as the Pacers fell to the Raptors in Toronto, 95-82, on New Year’s Day.
Since, the Pacers bested the New Orleans Pelicans at home, then knocked off the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Sunday, 82-78.
The Pacers, who’ve gone nine straight without giving up 100 points, were led by Paul George and his 16 points and six assists. Roy Hibbert scored 15 points with six rebounds, while David West added 11 points and seven boards in the win.
Lance Stephenson and Danny Granger scored 10 points apiece for Indiana, which has won seven of its last eight.
“This is a good win for our guys,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. “Games like that are never as easy as they should be when you have a bunch of guys out or a bunch of key guys out. They are dangerous games. We didn’t play a great game, but good enough to get a win.”
Kyrie Irving and Jarrett Jack were out for the Cavs.
The Pacers travel to Atlanta on Wednesday, then play their next four at home.
The Raptors’ only two losses in their last nine came in San Antonio and in Miami, last season’s two combatants in the NBA Finals.
Against the Heat on Sunday, Toronto fell 102-97. The Raps had a chance late, but didn’t convert an easy layup, or a tough 3-pointer. Miami made its free throws and held for a home win.
The loss snapped Toronto’s season-long five-game winning streak.
DeMar DeRozan had 26 points and seven assists for the Raptors. Kyle Lowry went for 14 with nine helpers while Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson totaled 17 points apiece. Patrick Patterson notched 11 off the bench.
“They turned up the pressure. They made us put it on the floor. They put us on the free-throw line but we didn’t convert. We’ve got to make free throws against a team like this,” said Raptors coach Dwane Casey
The Raptors went 12-for-21 from the foul line and only scored 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Indiana has won six of its last nine in this series and is 8-2 in its last 10 at home versus Toronto.