Raptors suffer ugly loss to Pacers in Game 4
Series tied 2 games apiece
For the third game of this roller-coaster playoff series, DeMar DeRozan was missing in action.
And moments after Toronto's ugly 100-83 loss to Indiana on Saturday that evened up the series, coach Dwane Casey was blunt in his assessment.
"We have to have him playing at a high level for us to have a chance to win this series," Casey said.
George Hill and Ian Mahinmi had 22 points apiece for the Pacers to send the playoff series back to Toronto tied at two games apiece.
Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points to top the Raptors, while DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Lowry each had 12 points and Norman Powell chipped in with 10.
The Raptors could do little right on an afternoon that saw them trail by as many as 25 points in the first half, and limp into the fourth quarter down 73-58. They pulled to within 12 points twice in the final frame, but couldn't maintain any sort of momentum.
"I think we just came out and laid an egg," Carroll said.
Lowry fouled out with 4:41 to play and when Solomon Hill drilled a three-pointer with 3:19 left, the Pacers' lead rose to 19 and the game was well in hand.
Ill will between the teams erupted in the final quarter when Valanciunas, Carroll and Paul George had to be separated.
"That's my big guy. I was just trying to protect him. Jonas, he don't know no better," Carroll said. "He plays physical, he plays hard and it's the playoffs. I guess [George] tried to run up on Jonas, but, we don't need none of that."
DeRozan, the Raptors' leading scorer in the regular season, had just eight points on 4-of-15 shooting and made six turnovers, and his air ball on a corner three-point attempt summed up his playoff series so far.
For the second game in the series, the No. 3 player in the league in free throw attempts didn't get to the foul line even once.
"That's one thing I tell myself, the playoffs are definitely different. I wasn't going to fuss or complain about the foul calls, just try to go out there and play, still be aggressive," DeRozan said. "I'm not going to shy away, going to try to continue to get to the basket and try to draw fouls like I normally do, but can't cry over it. I'm not going to whine about it. I'll figure it out."
Casey assumed the blame, saying he has to do a "better job of getting DeMar quick, cleaner looks, get him open a little bit better."
Lowry fared only slightly better with a 4-for-12 shooting night. The Raptors two all-stars are shooting just 31 per cent in the series, worst of any starting backcourt in the playoffs.
"To be honest, I feel like the shots I'm personally taking, and DeMar's taking, we've made all year," Lowry said. "They're just not falling right now. But I'm not going to shy away from taking them. And neither is DeMar."
Turnovers also proved costly — the Raptors coughed up 25 points on 19 giveaways.
George, who had 19 points, was pleased how the Pacers responded after dropping Game 3.
"I thought we were very pissed off and very attentive and very focused to even the series out," George said.