TORONTO – A night after seeing their seven-game win streak snapped by Cleveland at home by not executing down the stretch, the Pacers had a chance to redeem themselves facing eastern conference leading Toronto.
Same result, different night.
Indiana built a 17-point lead on the Raptors, but 23 turnovers and failure to close things out cost them, and Toronto escaped with a 99-96 victory.
Indiana was hanging on at 96-94, but Victor Oladipo was called for an 8-second count with 48 seconds to go, a rare call that led to Toronto’s first lead since 5-4 in the opening quarter.
Raptor guard Danny Green missed a three ball, but they got to the loose ball, and Fred Van Vleet drilled a three pointer with 26 seconds to go to give them a 97-96 lead.
Indiana the ran the clock down, and Victor Oladipo turned it over again in the lane with three seconds left, and Toronto added two free throws for the final margin. Oladipo led Indiana with 20 points on 9-19 shooting, while Myles Turner was a defensive pillar, coming up with five blocks, many of them late, and 14 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 28 points.
“We just had too many turnovers,” said head coach Nate McMillan afterwards. “I don’t know how many we had in the fourth quarter, but our guards had eleven turnovers. Their pressure bothered us, and poor execution down the stretch. I think we had many guys open, and we didn’t get the ball to them. Too many turnovers.”
Indiana falls to 20-12 with a visit to Brooklyn to meet the Nets next up on Friday night.