The Toronto Raptors recorded the signature victory of their franchise-best 12-game winning streak by rallying from a 19-point deficit to upend the Indiana Pacers.
The resilient Raptors should expect to see a motivated Pacers club on Friday when the teams reconvene in Indianapolis to complete a home-and-home series.
Toronto found itself trailing by 10 with 2:27 remaining in the fourth quarter on Wednesday before shutting out Indiana the rest of the way. Serge Ibaka capped the Raptors’ 11-point run by sinking a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left for an improbable 119-118 victory.
“Had ’em all the way,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said as he arrived at the podium for the post-game news conference.
While Nurse was admittedly joking, the Raptors have laughed off double-digit deficits and emerged victorious in 13 games this season, per TSN. The biggest such rally was a franchise-best 30-point comeback in a 110-107 win against Dallas on Dec. 22.
Kyle Lowry collected 32 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in that contest versus the Mavericks and matched those totals in Toronto’s victory on Wednesday.
“We play 48 minutes, that’s how we play,” the 33-year-old Lowry said. “We gave ourselves a chance, put the press on, made some shots, got aggressive and played better defense down the stretch, played a little faster.”
Ibaka scored 15 of his season-high 30 points in the fourth quarter and Pascal Siakam finished with 25 points to continue Toronto’s winning ways.
“I think it’s a little bit of everything,” Siakam said of the winning streak, per TSN. “I think we play together. I think no matter what happens we always stay calm and weather the storm and just continue to play basketball. We don’t get down on ourselves.”
While the Raptors (37-14) are off to the franchise’s best record after 51 games, the Pacers’ strong season has hit a rough patch with losses in three straight and four of its last five contests.
Victor Oladipo scored 13 points in his first start in four games following an extended absence from a ruptured tendon in his right knee sustained in a contest against Toronto on Jan. 23, 2019.
Oladipo, however, is still struggling to find his range, as his 5-for-14 effort from the floor and 2-for-6 performance from 3-point range on Wednesday actually improved his season averages in both categories.
“I feel like I played a little better (Wednesday),” Oladipo told reporters. “I could actually feel my legs kind of getting under me, especially defensively.”
Domantas Sabonis recorded his third career triple-double on Wednesday with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. He collected 12 points and 17 boards in Indiana’s 120-115 overtime win at home against Toronto on Dec. 23.
Malcolm Brogdon, who scored a team-high 24 points Wednesday, lamented his team’s play in the face of the Raptors’ pressure. Toronto held a 31-7 edge in fast-break points.
“It was on us,” Brogdon said, per the Indianapolis Star. “We just weren’t organized. We don’t have a problem with (pressure). We just struggled with it tonight. It wasn’t a special press. We weren’t organized in our spots. We didn’t get the ball up the court fast enough. We didn’t attack. You got to attack it, try to get a bucket or a layup on the other end. We were just trying to get it over half court.”
–Field Level Media