On a night marred by a serious injury to their All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, the Indiana Pacers earned a 110-106 home win over the Toronto Raptors despite a late-game rally from the visitors.
The Raptors, who saw their three-game win streak come to an end, could not fully recover from getting off to a slow start on the second night of a back-to-back.
For more on how it all went down, here are four takeaways from the night…
A Subpar Start
It was a less-than-ideal first quarter for the Raptors, who were stifled by the Pacers' elite defence.
Through the first 12 minutes, Toronto scored just 16 points on 6-for-24 shooting (25 percent) and 2-for-11 from 3-point range (18.2 percent). Indiana held an eight-point lead after one as it scored 24 points while shooting a slightly better 37.9 percent from the field in the quarter.
Danny Green, who scored just six points in the team's win over Sacramento Tuesday, led the way with five points (on 2-for-3 shooting). He was the only Raptor to shoot above 50 percent in the first frame.
The Raptors nearly doubled their scoring output in the next frame, scoring 31 points in the second quarter, but the Pacers scored 35 points of their own to take a 12-point lead into the half.
On nights like tonight, the slow start proved to be too big a set back for Toronto, who rallied in the second half but could never regain the lead.
Injuries are an unfortunate reality of the game, and Victor Oladipo was stretchered off after suffering what the team fears is a season-ending knee injury.
It was an emotional moment as both teams gathered on the court to show support to Oladipo, who was visibly affected by the apparent severity of his injury. While over two quarters remained at the time of the injury, it was clear that the minds of many were understandably elsewhere.
A widespread amount of support was sent Oladipo's way almost immediately, reiterating how respected he is around the league.
Oladipo, who won the league's Most Improved award in 2018, entered the night averaging 19.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game this season. His play was a big part in the Pacers' recent stretch of winning 18 of their last 23 games and he serves as one of the team's captains and vocal leaders.
While the team turns to free agent acquisition Tyreke Evans in Oladipo's absence, the main focus is on his wellbeing. Oladipo will undergo an MRI tomorrow to determine the severity of his injury.
The Rested Team Prevails
The Raptors, who travelled to Indiana following a home win over the Kings Tuesday night, fell to 8-2 on the season on the second night of a back-to-back. In the two losses, Toronto has shot 40.3 percent from the field, 28.3 percent from deep and averaged just 103.5 points per game - 10.3 points fewer than their season average of 113.8.
Indiana, on the other hand, saw its first action since defeating Charlotte on Sunday. With the win, the Pacers are now 11-0 on the season with two or more days rest.
It was clear that the Pacers were the more rested team, while the Raptors were down a number of players to injury in addition to coming off of a hard-fought win. Neither team shot particularly well from the field, but Indiana's 43.5 percent shooting bested Toronto's 41.3 percent shooting.
Overall, the Pacers appeared to have slightly more energy as they outscored the Raptors in transition (15-10) and in the paint (50-40).
It was the second night of a back-to-back, Kawhi Leonard, OG Anunoby and Jonas Valanciunas didn't play and the team has a big showdown with the Rockets Friday. In short, there were plenty of reasons Toronto could have conceded defeat after falling behind by 15 points in the third quarter.
Tonight is another example of there being no quit in this team.
The Raptors rallied after trailing 74-59 with 5:49 remaining in the third frame, entering the fourth quarter down just nine points. The deficit never got back into double-figures in the final frame as Toronto continued to chip away to give itself a chance to win late.
In a game full of ups and downs, the Raptors trailed 105-104 with just 31 seconds remaining after Danny Green sank a clutch 3-pointer. Green had another opportunity to tie things up with a clean look that was slightly off.
Moving forward, as plenty of adversity and obstacles hit this team, the resolve it showed in Indiana is encouraging, especially in the postseason where teams must withstand runs and rally in hostile environments.