Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Roy Hibbert scored 22 points while
leading a strong defensive effort that propelled the Indiana Pacers to an
86-79 win over the Toronto Raptors at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Lance Stephenson flirted with a triple-double after amassing 13 points, 10
rebounds and eight assists, helping Indiana offset an off night from star Paul
George and notch its eighth win in nine games. The Pacers' lone loss over
that stretch came to the Raptors in Toronto on New Year's Day.
George struggled to record 11 points while saddled with foul trouble for much
of the evening, but his team prevailed behind its defense and a sharp
performance at the free throw line.
The Pacers held Toronto to 37 percent shooting from the field and went 21-
of-26 from the charity stripe, with Hibbert making all but one of his 13
"Our guys buckled down, had a great defensive performance," said Pacers head
coach Frank Vogel. "It was a good win."
Toronto did receive 28 points from DeMar DeRozan and 20 off the bench out of
Patrick Patterson in the loss, the Raptors' second straight following a
season-high five-game win streak.
The Pacers missed seven of their first nine shots as Toronto raced out to an
11-4 lead midway through the opening quarter, but quickly reversed the
momentum by outscoring the Raptors by an 18-4 count over the remainder of the
period. George Hill spearheaded the surge by dropping in seven of his 11
Toronto cut a 10-point second-quarter deficit down to one following an 11-2
spurt that made the score 32-31 with under five minutes left in the half.
However, Stephenson put up five points in the final 1:42 of the frame to send
Indiana into the break owning a 44-36 edge.
The Pacers expanded the margin with a strong third quarter, with Hibbert
delivering seven points during a 9-2 flurry that put the hosts up 71-54 with
under a minute to go in the stanza.
Toronto was able to close the gap in the fourth, with Indiana's lead trimmed
to just six at 81-75 when Patterson capped a 9-4 push with a 3-pointer with
The differential remained at six entering the last minute, but the Raptors
failed to score the rest of the way and George hit 1-of-2 free throws with 21
seconds left to account for the final margin.
"Down the stretch, you can't beat a team like that by trading baskets with
them," said Patterson. "You have to get stops and we just couldn't do that."
The 79 points were a season low for the Raptors, who managed just 80 in a loss
to Chicago on Nov. 15 ... Indiana finished with a 53-36 rebounding advantage
and a 40-26 margin in points in the paint, with David West tallying 12 boards
for the Pacers ... Indiana is 21-1 this season when winning the battle on the
glass ... George's 11-point output was his second-lowest of the season and
less than half of his season average of 23.2 per game ... Toronto's Kyle Lowry
had a 24-game streak of six or more assists end when he managed only two in
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