INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors initiated the start of a rare back-to-back set of matchups with each other. In the first outing, it was the Raptors that came out on top with 107-102 being the final score.
The Pacers held tight with the Raptors early on in this matchup. The score was tied 24 apiece at the end of the first quarter. That quickly changed in the second period as Toronto thrived hitting three-pointers and forcing turnovers. The Raptors ended up holding a 58-47 lead at halftime.
After halftime, the Raptors managed to stay in control until the Pacers called a timeout at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter. Indiana used a 13-2 run for the remainder of the frame and faced just a 77-75 disadvantage entering the fourth quarter.
Both teams ended up being tied 102 apiece with just over a minute left on the game clock. The Raptors out-executed the Pacers for the remainder of the game to ultimately close out the victory.
Here are three things to like and dislike from Sunday's loss to the Raptors:
Like: Second Unit With Myles Turner
The Pacers' five most-used lineup combinations in this game featured net negative results aside from just one. It was the lineup consisting of T.J. McConnell, Aaron Holiday, Jeremy Lamb, and Justin Holiday on the perimeter with Myles Turner at the five.
It wasn't until this group played together to close out the third quarter that Indiana made real progress in reducing the deficit. This group logged roughly six minutes together and recorded a substantial 45.0 net rating.
There's a lot to like about that particular group together. There is no shortage of spacing since it's a small ball group with a wing player at the four alongside Turner's stretch-five skill-set. Let's not forget, Turner's rim protector ties it all together defensively.
Dislike: Costly Turnovers
The Pacers struggled mightily with taking care of the basketball. Overall, they finished with a season-high 18 turnovers and allowed the Raptors to score 26 points off those mistakes. It was the primary factor in Indiana facing a 58-47 disadvantage at halftime.
Indiana was at its worst in this department during the first half. The Pacers committed 13 turnovers and allowed 20 points off turnovers during that stretch. Having such poor execution in a pivotal area early on creates a very thin margin for error after halftime.
It was at least intriguing to see the Pacers improve in this area in the second half. However, Indiana simply cannot afford to sink back into their bad habit early in Monday's re-match against the Raptors.
Like: Interior Defense
The primary focus for the Pacers' defense is to prevent the opposition from getting clean looks in the paint. Against the Raptors, the primary objective for Indiana was no different than it usually is and it did work well aside from the clip from three-point range they allowed Toronto to convert.
The Pacers like to sag off shooters and pre-rotate to prevent favorable driving lanes from developing. As a result, the Raptors were contained to just 22-of-55 (40.0%) on two-point attempts. Such a clip from two is staggeringly low. This was a vital element to the Pacers keeping the game within reach.
There were plenty of stretches when Myles Turner was on the floor when it felt as though none of the opposing players wanted to put up a finish on drives. The rim protection presence was key in keeping Toronto from holding a disadvantage in another important area.
Dislike: Execution From Brogdon & Sabonis
The Raptors enter most games with a clear emphasis to neutralize the opposing team's top players with creative defensive strategies. The two clear focuses for Toronto in this matchup were Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis.
Sabonis was held scoreless in the second half and finished 1-of-10 (10%) from the field. He was consistently seeing multiple defenders in the paint and double-teams in the post. Playing non-shooting threats alongside him helped to enable this strategy to work.
Brogdon had a very rough performance from the perimeter as he went 1-of-10 (10%) on those attempts, and that was more about making or missing shots. However, he finished going 4-of-12 (33.3%) on two-point field goals and that was troubling.
It could be considered a silver lining in the sense that Indiana still almost came away with a win despite Brogdon and Sabonis struggling to score.
Like: Myles Turner's Continued Impact
Myles Turner has made a considerable impact for the Pacers since returning from a two-game absence. He's playing through a fractured right hand but is showing minimal signs of being impacted by it. In fact, he's put together his two highest-scoring games while playing through it.
Against the Raptors, Turner finished with 25 points, four rebounds, three steals, and six blocks. He managed to go 8-of-12 (75.0%) from the field, 4-of-7 (57.1%) from deep, and 5-of-6 (83.3%) on free throws. He continued to be aggressive from deep, putting it on the floor from out in space, and as a rim-roller.
The one knock on Turner's performance would easily be the five turnovers that he ended up committing. He finished with more giveaways than any other member of the Pacers in this game.
Dislike: Late Game Execution
The outcome of a game sometimes comes down to which team manages to out-execute the other in the final few minutes of action. After Malcolm Brogdon tied the game at 102 apiece with 1:09 left in the game, the Pacers' execution diminished significantly.
With the Raptors in the bonus, Brogdon committed a loose ball foul in the paint on the following defensive possessions. O.G. Anunoby split on this trip to the line to put Toronto up 103-102.
The Pacers faced the need to execute offensively came up empty on two pivotal offensive possessions. On the first offensive possession, Brogdon got bottled up and the ball ripped loose by Fred VanVleet with the shot clock winding down. Brogdon then drove the lane and dished it to Sabonis, but the Raptors were in a position to force a miss.
Against high-level teams with great wing defenders, it takes precise execution to succeed. The Pacers will have to go back to the drawing board to have greater success going forward.