TORONTO — Jonas Valanciunas owned the glass against the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
He owned the glass again in Game 2 — and then some.
Valanciunas scored 23 points and had 15 rebounds as the Toronto Raptors bounced back after the Game 1 loss with a 98-87 win to even the series.
Valanciunas was plagued by foul trouble in Game 1, but played the majority of Game 2. The Pacers had no answer for him.
He helped set the tone early in the game, with 13 points in the first quarter. Nine of them came during a 16-3 Toronto run.
Paul George led all scorers with 28 points. But the only other Pacer in double figures was Monta Ellis with 15.
Indiana was 4-of-20 from three-point range.
The Pacers attempted to go with a smaller lineup late in the first quarter, as rookie Myles Turner and Solomon Hill replaced the starting post players.
The lineup change seemed to work at first. Turner promptly tightened up defense on Valanciunas and scored four points.
But Toronto was able to make adjustments. The Raptors outscored the Pacers 46-30 in the paint.
Toronto’s backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan struggled in Game 1. But much of the team’s offense ran through them Monday. Lowry scored 18 points and had nine assists. DeRozan had 10 points and two assists.
Back to Indiana
The series shifts to Indiana for Game 3 Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers will need to make adjustments around the perimeter. If only for a brief moment, the Pacers showed signs that having Turner involved near the perimeter will help open things up. With Valanciunas guarding him up top, that opens things up for the rest of the team.
Paul George and Monta Ellis will need a supporting cast to show up as the series heads to Indiana. George Hill was all but absent Monday night, scoring just four points on 2-of-5 shooting from the field. Lavoy Allen and Ian Mahinmi have each scored just six points over the first two games of the series.
While George has returned to form this season, the entire burden cannot be on his shoulders.
Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.