Toronto Raptors

Nine thoughts: Scottie Barnes comes up clutch as Raptors edge Pacers to win third-straight game

The Toronto Raptors are on a roll, picking up their third-straight win to move to 4-3 on the season.

In a back-and-forth battle with the Pacers, rookie Scottie Barnes led the charge with a team-high 21 points, while Svi Mykhailiuk and Fred VanVleet added 16 points apiece.

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For more on this game, we have you covered with some thoughts below.

1. Scottie Barnes takes centre stage

Scottie Barnes continues to impress for the Raptors, recording 21 points and 12 rebounds, his second double-double of the season and seventh game in double-figure scoring.

He came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, aggressively attacking the rim. As you can see from his shotchart below, those points in the paint are quickly becoming his bread and butter.

The 20-year-old held his nerve down the stretch, burying a pair of free throws with 6.2 seconds remaining to put them in front 97-94 and seal the win.

"I loved it when it got loud, I smiled a bit at the free-throw line, I loved that, Barnes said post-game." I just knocked it down, I had confidence I was going to make it, it was nothing to me."

2. Svi Mykhailiuk's second-quarter explosion

The Raptors second unit has been up and down to start the season, but Svi Mykhailiuk turned in his best performance of the season with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 21 minutes

Just when the Raptors needed a jolt at the start of the second quarter, he exploded for 11 points in the period, hitting the Pacers with a combination of shots from beyond the arc and some nice finished at the rim.

None better than this lefty jam!

Fourth quarter defence

3. Steady Freddy delivers

While Barnes played a big role in the win, Fred VanVleet stepped up with a huge 3-pointer in crunch time to give the Raptors some breathing room.

Leading 89-84 with 1:44 on the clock, the Raptors lead launched a deep triple to extend the lead to eight points.

He finished the game with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. While he had a tough night shooting the ball going 6-of-14 from the field and 2-of-7 from deep, he stepped up when it mattered most.

4. Welcome back Caris LeVert

After missing the first five games with a back injury, Caris LeVert made his season debut for the Pacers with an energetic cameo.

In just 15 minutes, LeVert recorded 15 points, two assists and two steals on 6-of-10 from the field and 1-of-3 from beyond the arc, getting up and down the floor with ease with most of his points coming in transition.

With Malcolm Brogdon sidelined with a hamstring injury, having LeVert back in the lineup is a huge boost for the Pacers moving forward.

5. Raptors clamp down

On the second night of a back-to-back, the Raptors gave it their all on the road, leaning on their defence throughout the game.

They held the Pacers to just 42.4 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from beyond the arc, while forcing 19 turnovers, which they turned into 28 points, suffocating the Pacers both in the paint and on the perimeter.

Playing five of their first six games at home, tonight was real test for the Raptors, who will now face a tough stretch of the schedule with 11 of their next 14 games on the road, including two back-to-backs.

6. Anunoby's off-the-dribble game continues to shine

This season was earmarked as a breakout campaign for OG Anunoby as he takes on more of the offensive responsibilities, especially in the absence of Pascal Siakam.

He put up a solid line of 15 points, five rebounds and five assists tonight, but what stands out is the way he's getting his buckets, either at the rim or from beyond the arc.

In the third quarter, he sized up Domantas Sabonis on the perimeter and hit him with a smooth combination of dribbles before firing off the jumper. His increasing confidence in creating his own shot is something that will bring a smile to the faces of Raptor fans.

7. Winning the rebounding battle

For an undersized team, starting Precious Achiuwa at the five, Nick Nurse called on the Canadian trio of Chris Boucher (6 rebounds), Khem Birch (6 rebounds) and Dalano Banton (2 rebounds) early to match up against the size of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis.

Led by Barnes 12 boards, the Raptors had eight players with at least three rebounds, winning the battle on the glass 48-40, despite having a tough time keeping hold of Domantas Sabonis, who grabbed 14 on the night, including six offensive rebounds which created some key second-chance opportunities. Turner added 11 rebounds, but the Raptors did a solid job keeping everyone else off the glass.

8. Scottie Barnes injury update

Barnes appeared to injure his hand swiping at the ball as he attempted a steal on Justin Holiday.

He underwent X-rays postgame, which came back negative, but something to monitor in the coming days.

9. What's next?

The Raptors are back in action on Monday as they travel to take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. It will be a night of celebration at MSG on the 75th anniversary of the first-ever NBA game played, which featured the Toronto Huskies and New York Knicks.

The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. See you then.

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