The Toronto Raptors tried to complete a comeback for the second-consecutive night but came up just short in overtime.
The Raptors got out to a slow start but some halftime adjustments helped them fight back into the game and force overtime. A balanced scoring attack from the Indiana Pacers, headlined by 24 points from TJ Warren and Myles Turner, helped power the team to victory. Aaron Holiday also stepped up in the fourth quarter and overtime, scoring 13 points over that timespan.
30 points from Kyle Lowry and double-doubles from Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby was not enough for Toronto to overcome their rough first half.
For more on the hard-fought loss, we have you covered with some thoughts on the game below.
1. Nothing falling early
The Raptors couldn't get anything to go from 3-point range in the first half.
Toronto shot 1-for-8 (12.5%) from long range in the first quarter and things didn't get any better in the second frame. They shot 1-for-11 (9.9%) in the second quarter, entering halftime at an ugly 2-for-19 (10.5%) from distance.
Fred VanVleet was 0-for-5, Terence Davis went 0-for-4 and Kyle Lowry and OG Anunoby went 0-for-2 apiece. The only two makes came from Patrick McCaw and Serge Ibaka, who each went 1-for-2.
2. Backcourt's slow start
Along with the Raptors' 3-point shooting, their starting backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet couldn't get anything going in the first half either.
Lowry had just six points going 1-for-6 from the field with three assists and a plus/minus of minus-nine. VanVleet only tallied four points shooting 1-for-7 from the field but did add seven assists to the box score. He was also in the negative, at a team-worst minus-16 at the break.
Without Malcolm Brogdon in the lineup for the Pacers, you would have expected one or both of these guards to get theirs from the start of the game and neither of them took advantage of that absence.
3. Halftime adjustments
It was clear the Raptors needed to switch something up after a lifeless first half and head coach Nick Nurse made the necessary adjustment to start the second half.
Toronto went to a zone on the defensive end to try and combat being handled by the Pacers frontcourt duo of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and it worked. They mixed things up between a 2-3 and 3-2 zone to throw different looks at Indiana each time down the floor and it helped the Raptors turn their 10-point halftime deficit to one-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
4. A tale of two halves for Kyle Lowry
Remember two "thoughts" back when I talked about Kyle Lowry's slow start? Well, he completely turned things around in the third quarter to bring his team back into the game.
After going 1-for-6 from the field in the first half, Lowry shot 5-for-7 from the field and 4-for-5 from 3-point range to score 14 points in the third frame alone.
Encore? pic.twitter.com/sjaljSuGT5- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 24, 2019
He also dished out three assists and had the wheels turning for the Raptors on the offensive end when they needed it most, sparking a 35-point third quarter for Toronto.
Lowry finished with 30 points, nine assists, six rebounds and a steal shooting 10-for-21 from the field and 5-for-12 from beyond the arc, including a number of clutch buckets down the stretch of the game in the fourth quarter. Without his second half performance, the Raptors would have never been able to force this game into overtime.
5. Domantas Sabonis has what?
You probably would not have guessed this, but with a double-double of 12 points and 17 rebounds in this contest, Domantas Sabonis now has the second-most double-doubles in the NBA behind Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Sabonis has quietly been one of the best players in the Eastern Conference this season and is making a case as a first-time All-Star for Indiana. He now has 25 double-doubles, two shy of Antetokounmpo for the most in the league.
6. Oh, and Myles Turner is good too.
This frontcourt duo had an impressive showing in this contest, taking advantage of the Raptors' thin depth at the centre position.
It took Myles Turner two and a half quarters to miss his first shot in this game. He was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field for 15 points in the first half, while also tallying three boards and three blocks.
He went quiet once Toronto switched to zone in the second half, but buried a pair of timely 3-pointers in overtime to help decide the outcome of the game.
Turner finished with a team-high-tying 24 points to go with seven rebounds, three blocks and one assist while knocking down five of his six 3-point attempts.
7. Comeback kids come up short
On the back end of a back-to-back - one night after completing the biggest comeback in franchise history - the Raptors ran out of gas and couldn't finish a second-straight comeback.
Trailing by as much as 15 points in the first half, Toronto flipped the game on its head right away in the third quarter. Even after TJ Warren buried a clutch 3-pointer to put the Pacers but by two with under a minute to go, Kyle Lowry answered right back with an equally as clutch tough take to the rim.
SO CLUTCH@TonyWarrenJr pic.twitter.com/Oa28uY1HUM- Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) December 24, 2019
When Lowry couldn't get his game-winning 3-point attempt to fall, the Raptors had to try and dig deep to come up with another gritty win. Behind a big overtime performance from Myles Turner and Aaron Holiday, the Pacers were able to close out this game with a win.
8. What's next for the Raptors?
The Raptors have Christmas Eve off before hosting the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day. This will be the first game of a five-game slate, as short-handed Toronto puts their NBA-record 34 consecutive wins against their division at home on the line against the second place Celtics.
Boston has not won in Toronto in eight consecutive trips, dating back to 2015.