3 Things to Like and Dislike From Pacers' Win Against Raptors
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors completed a rare back-to-back series. Both teams ultimately split the series with the Raptors winning 107-102 on Sunday while the Pacers came out on top 129-114 during Monday's contest.
In the first half of this game, the Pacers had established a 70-60 lead at halftime. The Raptors started to get creative defensively using various zones in the third quarter -- giving Indiana some issues. However, the Pacers ultimately pulled away in the final period.
The Raptors were without Pascal Siakam once again for this matchup but Kyle Lowry did end up making his return to the lineup. Meanwhile, the Pacers continued to be without Caris Levert and TJ Warren. In the late first quarter, Domantas Sabonis went down with an injury as well.
Here are three things to like and dislike from Monday's win.
Like: Malcolm Brogdon's Career Night
On Sunday, Brogdon had his worst performance of the season. He finished with just 12 points on 5-of-22 (22.7%) shooting from the field. It was particularly troubling that he finished going 1-of-10 (10%) from beyond the arc.
Brogdon was highly motivated to put together a big performance in the Pacers' re-match with the Raptors on Monday. He above and beyond in doing so. He scored a career-high 36 points while adding seven rebounds and nine assists.
It wasn't just the volume of points Brogdon provided the Pacers that made his display impressive. He executed with strong efficiency -- going 10-of-17 (58.8%) from the field, 3-of-5 (60.0%) from beyond the arc, and went a staggering 13-of-14 (92.9%) on free throws.
Brogdon is putting together the start of a true All-Star caliber season. His averages for 2020-21 now have reached 22.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 7.2 assists. He has truly stepped into the lead-role and mitigated the need to risk keeping Victor Oladipo long-term.
Dislike: Letting Some Players Go Off
There isn't much room to nitpick the Pacers' defensive performance aside from letting a few guys go off and allowing too many '50/50 balls' to go Toronto's way. Regardless, there's always room to improve.
It seemed as though Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell were able to get to just about wherever they wanted with the ball. VanVleet finished with 25 points while Powell wasn't far behind with 24 points of his own. There weren't any other Raptors players that even reached 15 points.
Again, the Pacers' performance defensively was truly impressive as an overall unit. Indiana contained the opposition to going just 38-of-93 (40.9%) from the field and turned 10 opponent turnovers into 26 points off turnovers.
Like: Myles Turner's Continued Success
The level of defensive contribution the Pacers have received throughout the season has been off the charts. However, he has managed to achieve a new level of offensive success, particularly since Indiana decided to trade Victor Oladipo in the four-team blockbuster deal.
Against the Raptors, the Pacers needed Turner to step-up even more than usual with Domantas Sabonis ruled out after just under 11 minutes of action. Turner certainly answered the call.
Now, Turner is playing in a more appropriate half-court offense for his skill-set under Nate Bjorkgren. He's not having to rely purely on spot-up three-point shooting and has been able to utilize his finishing
Turner is averaging 22.7 points per game over his last three outings while shooting 62.9% from the field and 53.8% from the perimeter. Overall, he has reached 20 points scoring in four of his previous five games.
Dislike: Opponent Offensive Rebounding
There wasn't much to dislike about the Pacers' performance in this game. However, there are some minor details that could have been better for Indiana and one of those was keeping the Raptors away from potential offensive rebounds.
The Pacers allowed 13 opponent offensive rebounds and that led to the Raptors scoring 16 second-chance points. There was a sizeable disparity in this area when considering Indiana only had seven second-chance points of their own.
The Raptors missed a lot of shots due to a combination of their reliance on perimeter shooting, but especially due to the Pacers' interior defense. As previously mentioned, there were too many '50/50 balls' that Toronto managed to come up with throughout the flow of this game.
Like: Jeremy Lamb Leading the Bench
Ever since Jeremy Lamb has made his season debut for the Pacers, he has managed to bring a major scoring spark off the bench. This has been timely when considering Caris LeVert and TJ Warren still are not in Indiana's lineup.
Lamb's performance against the Raptors was the best of his short season. He came off the bench to play for 33 minutes and poured in 22 points, seven rebounds, and two assists. He helped to keep Indiana afloat at times when they needed a lift.
So far this season, Lamb has managed to average an incredible 16.8 points per game coming off the bench. He isn't just putting up a ton of shots to do it inefficiently either. He is producing an impressive 1.264 points per possession (PPP) -- ranking seventh among all 311 players with at least 50 offensive possessions.
Dislike: Domantas Sabonis' Injury
It wasn't just Malcolm Brogdon who was in need of a bounce-back performance. On Sunday, Domantas Sabonis finished with just 10 points on 1-of-10 (10.0%) shooting from the field. Worst of all, he was held scoreless in the second half.
Sabonis was well on his way to a strong outing on Monday prior to going down with an injury. He provided the Pacers with 11 points, three rebounds, and two assists after just under 11 minutes of action.
Not having Sabonis in the lineup proved to not be too much to overcome for the Pacers. Myles Turner managed to continue to elevate his contributions while Goga Bitadze provided a productive 12 minutes off the bench when Turner wasn't on the court.
The Pacers already have to deal with not having Caris LeVert and TJ Warren in the lineup. It's unknown how serious Domantas Sabonis' injury or how long he could potentially be sidelined (if at all).