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Pacers’ struggles continue north of the border

TORONTO — In desperate need of a victory in the midst of the playoff chase, the Indiana Pacers fell to the Toronto Raptors Friday night, pushing Indiana further back in the standings. The loss marks the third consecutive for the Pacers.

DeMar Derozan led all scorers with 40 points as Toronto pulled away in the second half to post a 111-100 victory.

Indiana is now tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference standings at 37-39, and just a half-game ahead of Chicago for the final playoff spot.

Indiana has six games remaining, beginning Sunday night in Cleveland. Newly-acquired guard Lance Stephenson will join the team for the first game of his much-anticipated second stint with the Pacers in the much-needed game against the faltering Cavaliers.

Stephenson returns after a two-plus year absence in Indianapolis, in which he played for five different teams.

Of Indiana’s six remaining games, four are against teams solidly in the playoff field, including home matchups with Toronto, Milwaukee, and Atlanta in the season-finale.

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