TORONTO – The Indiana Pacers‘ (12-11) struggles north of the border continue.
Indy could not complete a late comeback at Air Canada Centre, falling 120-115 for their eighth consecutive loss to the Toronto Raptors (14-7) up in Canada. Victor Oladipo turned in a season-best 36 points on 14-of-22 shooting in a losing effort.
Points in the paint were a huge issue for Indiana, as the Raptors racked up a whopping 70 points down low.
Friday’s first half was a topsy-turvy one.
The Pacers started slow in the first quarter, but used a late 14-0 run to take a 32-27 lead into the second. Oladipo helped charge Indy with nine first quarter points.
Toronto, one of the league’s best second quarter teams, came out firing in period number two. The Raptors outscored Indy 38-26 in the quarter, the 12th straight game in which Toronto outscored their opposition in the second.
Oladipo added 11 points in the second quarter, giving him 20 at the half. He has scored in double-figures in all 22 games he has played in this season. His season low is just 14 points.
All in all, the first half was about runs. The Pacers had their big run in the first quarter, while Toronto closed the second on a 14-2 run to go in front.
Indy was never able to recover, as they never held a lead in the second half.
They did have the scoring edge on the Raptors in the third, 31-29, making it a five-point game after three.
In the fourth quarter, Indiana was able to cut the Raps’ lead down to one, but could not get over the hump. Toronto responded with a 17-5 run, leaving the visitors Pacers in the dust. Indy got as close as five and had a pair of failed possessions to get even closer, but the Raptors held on for the win at home.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 26 points on Friday. The Raptors had the edge off of the bench, receiving 50 points from their reserves. Indiana had just 28 bench points.
Toronto native and former Raptor Cory Joseph scored seven points on 2-of-9 shooting for the Indiana.
Next up for the Pacers is a season-long six-game homestand. This long stretch at Bankers Life Fieldhouse begins on Monday, as the Blue and Gold will welcome the New York Knicks for a 7:00 p.m. contest.