INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers had no way of stopping the Toronto Raptors Thursday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Toronto took a 2-1 series lead with a 101-85 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Just like Game 2 in Toronto, the Raptors took it to the Pacers early, and often. While Jonas Valanciunas continued his dominance on the glass with a game-high 14 rebounds, it was Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan that finally took charge of the Toronto offense. They each scored 21 points, really asserting themselves for the first time in the series.
Toronto led by as many as 23, and Indiana’s largest lead was just three points in the first quarter. From there on out, Toronto was far and away the better team. The Pacers had 16 turnovers on the night. They had 11 at halftime, to match just 11 made field goals.
The Raptors outscored the Pacers 26-10 in points off turnovers.
Paul George led the team, as he has every game this series, with 25 points. But he was just 6-of-19 from the field and 1-of-8 from three-point range.
He said the Raptors are doing a good job of recognizing what sets they are in on offense, which makes it tough to get things going.
“We need to do a better job of attacking from the weak side,” he said. “But our best offense is just us playing random. Just being in attack mode. Too many times, we are playing passive, and we’re not being aggressive and we’re not being assertive.”
Turner contributing off the bench
Lavoy Allen was held scoreless, playing just under nine minutes on the night. Myles Turner got a good chunk of the minutes in the Pacers’ post. The rookie scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Turner is averaging 11 points and five rebounds through the first three games of the series.
He helped the Pacers cut the deficit to 12 points with just under 10:00 to play, before the Raptors rattled off eight unanswered.
The Pacers received three technical fouls in the game — Paul George and Rodney Stuckey in the first half and Turner in the second.
George’s came after a no-call on a drive he took to the rim. The Pacers seemed to be frustrated with the officials from the beginning of the game. And that can affect the way the rest of the game is called; for better, or worse.
“It’s the playoffs. You’ve kind of got to let stuff slide,” George said. “We’re playing for something that means something. I understand it’s a way of coming to officials. They’re grown men, they’re adults, they’re human beings. But at the same time, we’re playing for something. So you’ve got to let us play.”
Hopefully as a group we respond pissed off. That’s the only way to overcome a loss like this.
The Pacers will try to bounce back from Thursday’s beatdown and even the series on Saturday.
George Hill scored 13 points Thursday. He said the Pacers will need to do a better job of moving the ball to stay in the series.
“I feel like we’re playing on one side of the court too much,” Hill said. “They are a good one-side-of-the-floor defense. If we can get the ball moving side to side, and make the extra pass, we can get rolling.”
Paul George was blunt in his key to winning Game 4.
“Hopefully as a group we respond pissed off,” George said. “That’s the only way to overcome a loss like this. We missed a great opportunity, simple as that. The only way to respond in G4 is to be pissed off.”
He said the Pacers will need to be tougher, play harder, and be the team winning hustle battles for loose balls.
“We can’t let the opposing team be the first one to really put their imprint on the game as the physical team,” George said. “That’s what it comes down to. In the playoffs, whoever is physical is going to win the game. And we’re doing a poor job of doing that.”
Kyle Beery is the Indiana Pacers Beat Writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Indiana Pacers with full media access. You can follow @BeeryK and @IndySportsRep on Twitter.
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