DeMar DeRozan with another 40-point performance, Raptors beat Pacers 111-100

DeRozan with 40, Raptors beat Pacers 111-100

TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan was at it again on Friday.

DeRozan scored 40 points for the seventh time this season to help the Toronto Raptors keep up with the congested race for the top of the Eastern Conference while dealing a blow to the Indiana Pacers’ post-season hopes with a 111-100 win.

The Raptors have now won seven of their last eight games despite the absence of star Kyle Lowry and sit three games back of Boston for first in the East. But as DeRozan explained after the game, the cerebral point guard’s influence still looms large.

“With Kyle out there, we need him for a lot â€” he thinks for us a lot of times and makes the game come easier for all of us,” DeRozan said of Lowry, who’s out after right wrist surgery. “Without him, I try to do the same as if I was Kyle â€” try to think for everybody and try to get easy things going.”

Serge Ibaka added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors (46-30), while Jonas Valanciunas dominated just as he did in Toronto’s seven-game win over Indiana in the first round of last year’s playoffs, finishing with 16 points and 17 rebounds.

Versatile swingman Paul George amassed 28 points and nine rebounds but couldn’t halt the recent downward slide of the Pacers (37-39), who have now lost five of their last six as they jostle for one of the last two playoff spots in the East with Miami, Chicago and Detroit.

Despite that desperation, there wasn’t much urgency from either side in the first half, with the Pacers holding a two-point lead after a less-than-pretty 24 minutes that saw the Raptors shoot 37 per cent while looking discombobulated at both ends.

Their focus intensified in the third.

DeRozan, again almost impossible to stop offensively, scored nine of the team’s first 11 points in the quarter – including a pair of three-pointers – to help the Raptors re-take the lead.

Then Valanciunas went to work, ultimately producing a 12-point, 13-rebound quarter including a picturesque baseline dunk over Rakeem Christmas’s outstretched hands. Apparently encouraged, Valanciunas two possessions later decided to pump-fake a three-pointer before driving from 23-feet out and trying to dunk over George, who mercifully fouled the hulking Lithuanian as the bemused crowd cheered.

After that, the Pacers couldn’t manage to draw close again as the teams traded baskets in the fourth. Two free throws from Indiana’s Jeff Teague cut the Raptors’ lead to 104-97 with 1:15 left. On the next play, Ibaka swung the ball to DeRozan, who swished a high-arching three-pointer from 27 feet out to deflate the Pacers.

If DeRozan’s excellence has become almost routine lately, the Raptors were grateful for a buoyant boost from second-year guard Delon Wright, who posted 11 points and six rebounds while proving a vexing disruption on the defensive end.

“I thought Delon did an excellent job running the show,” head coach Dwane Casey said.

Added DeRozan of the “extremely crafty” youngster: “He’s smooth, man.”

The Raptors locker-room, meanwhile, was perhaps somewhat less complimentary of Valanciunas’s aborted three-point attempt.

“Terrible,” teased DeRozan after the game. “And he went for the pump-fake â€” that’s a hell of a pump-fake.

“He gotta come right out of the game after that.”

NOTES: Casey sounded an optimistic note on Lowry, who’s been out since the all-star break. “Hopefully we can get him in for a couple games before the playoffs start,” Casey said. … By some scheduling quirk, the Pacers and Raptors play all three of their games this season in a span of less than three weeks. Toronto won the first matchup 116-91. They play again Tuesday in Indianapolis. … Toronto next plays Sunday against the woeful Philadelphia 76ers.

Nick Patch, The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

Just Posted

(Contributed)
Collision slows rush hour traffic in Kelowna

Expect delays at K.L.O. Road and Richter Street on your commute Tuesday evening

A conceptual render of the proposed building at 955 Manhattan Drive. (Contributed)
Height not wanted on Kelowna’s Manhattan Drive

City staff said proposed five-storey building poses challenges

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Kelowna General Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

Three people tested positive for the virus — two patients and one staff — one of whom died

A crash at the intersection of Harvey Avenue and Leckie Road on June 15. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
Traffic stalled by Harvey Avenue crash in Kelowna

One lane is open as crews clean up after crash at Harvey Avenue and Leckie Road

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Facebook)
New trial date set for Penticton beach attacker’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

Most Read