The Indiana Pacers and the host Toronto Raptors will have the same goal Wednesday night — to win for the second time this season.
Each has lost three of its first four games. The Raptors have dropped all three of their home games, including 111-108 to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night after trailing by 20 points. The Raptors’ win was at Boston on Friday.
The Pacers have split their first two home games, defeating the Miami Heat on Saturday in overtime and losing 119-109 Monday to the Milwaukee Bucks after trailing by 18.
“You’ve got to always try to play from in front against better teams,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “We were able to do it against Miami because we were able to get traction defensively, and we were doing some good things on offense. But (Monday), just not enough defensive consistency.”
Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers with 25 points and had seven assists against the Bucks. Domantas Sabonis added 21 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
“We are doing a lot of great things in every game,” Sabonis said. “We’ve just got to build on it. We’ve just got to be consistent throughout the whole game. (Monday) I just feel like we didn’t bring the extra energy we needed.”
“A lot of times it’s a lot sweeter when it’s tougher to get to where you want to go,” said Justin Holiday, who had 12 points and three steals for Indiana on Monday. “So we’ve got to understand that. I think this time at the beginning of the season is going to make us better for later.
“As long as we stay together, continue to lock in and focus on the things we’re supposed to do on both ends of the floor and being a team, I think we’ll be just fine. I think it will be a fun little ride here.”
The Raptors have opened the season without Pascal Siakam, who had surgery on his left shoulder to repair a torn labrum in June. He started to participate in practice this week, as has Yuta Watanabe (left-calf strain).
The Raptors made it close against the Bulls in the fourth quarter, pulling to within two points. DeMar DeRozan, a Raptors stalwart for nine seasons, led the Bulls with 26 points, 11 in the fourth quarter.
“He bailed them out because I thought we turned the water off on the other guys,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “He came in that last run in the fourth and pretty much made all their buckets.”
“We waited a little long to try to turn it up,” said Gary Trent Jr. who scored 18 points on Monday. “But it shows the signs are there, it shows what we can do, it shows what we can do when we play together, when we believe in one another.”
OG Anunoby led Toronto 22 points. Fred VanVleet had 15 points and a career-best 17 assists. VanVleet also had a career-high eight turnovers. In all, the Raptors had 21 turnovers that led to 27 points for Chicago.
“It’s like pinball when (VanVleet) drives down the lane,” Nurse said. “I thought he was handling (the ball) pretty well as much as he was getting knocked around.”
The Pacers were 2-1 against the Raptors last season.
–Field Level Media