Streaking Raptors need to take care of leads against Indiana
Toronto's recipe for beating the Indiana Pacers seems to be straightforward — when you get that big lead, try to hold onto the darn thing.
Those streaking Raptors host the Hoosier state crew on Sunday night (6 p.m. ET) knowing they should have had two wins already against the blue and gold, instead of just one.
And that could have been none, actually.
The Raptors (25-22) scored 74 first half points against Indiana in their first meeting and had to scramble around for the win.
Then they led by 23 on the road in early January, only to see that disappear completely in the only truly bad game the team has played in recent times.
"We stopped them a bunch of times, was boxing out, limiting them to one shot," Indiana forward Danny Grainger said following the big comeback. "That won the game for us."
Indiana (16-31) took off on a three game winning streak after beating the Raps but that was a mirage. They quickly fell back to earth with six losses in the last eight.
Chris Bosh's Raptors, however, are playing their best basketball in seasons, having won four straight and are 14-5 overall since Dec. 18, climbing into fifth place overall, five-and-a-half games back of Boston and Atlanta.
12th over-100 game
Thursday night in a win over the New York Knicks on the road, the Raps scored over 100 points for their 12th straight game.
"I think everything's clicking," Bosh said. "We're looking for our shots, we're being aggressive.
"At the same time, we know how the game's supposed to flow, who's open, the offensive sets we want to run. I mean it's coming together bit by bit."
Bosh was chosen to his fifth all-star team this week and the choice was easy given his excellent play all season. Over the last 12 games the team captain has been averaging 24.8 points a game.
Hedo Turkoglu, the team's star off-season acquisition, had struggled throughout the season at times but on Thursday he came up with 26 points and 11 boards.
Asked after the game what the difference was, he said "Ball."
And that was it. The inference was the team was getting him the ball more and thus he was more involved.
These two teams play again on Tuesday night in Indiana.