O’Neal, Pacers tame Raptors
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Jermaine O’Neal posted 21 points, a
career-high seven assists and six rebounds, as the Indiana Pacers closed
out a four- game homestand with a 102-84 victory over the Toronto
Raptors at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Danny Granger scored 18 points for the Pacers, who won their season-best
third straight. Mike Dunleavy netted 15 points, while Marquis Daniels
scored 13 points, Darrell Armstrong 12 and Jeff Foster grabbed 12 rebounds
off the bench. Troy Murphy added eight points and 12 boards.
“Toronto is a much improved team,” Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. “They
have terrific players, they are well constructed and they are tough to defend.
The fact they were on a back-to-back wore on them a little bit and we picked
it up in the second half.”
Chris Bosh posted 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who had a
season-worst three- game winning streak snapped. Jose Calderon notched 14
points and 10 assists, and Anthony Parker and Radoslav Nesterovic both added
10 points. Raptors guard T.J. Ford (sore right ankle) sat out.
Toronto attained an early advantage, going on a 9-2 spurt midway through the
first, and led 23-18 heading into the second.
Indiana took control down the second-quarter stretch on a 7-0 burst bookended
by Murphy layups, but Jorge Garbajosa scored on a jumper and Bosh hit the
latter of a pair of free throws to edge a 40-39 halftime lead for the Raptors.
Just as Indiana started to pull away with a 54-46 lead with 7:29 to go in the
third, Toronto scored six straight to come within two about two minutes later.
The Pacers regrouped and closed the stanza on a 9-3 tear sparked by a Daniels
reverse layup with 2:38 to go for a 69-61 lead heading into the fourth.
The Pacers blew the game open on a 10-2 run midway through the fourth capped
by an O’Neal fadeaway with 6:21 remaining for an 85-68 lead.
“We played hard,” Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. “We just didn’t have a lot
left in us.”
Saturday’s game between Indiana and Toronto was the second of three meetings
this season. The Raptors won the first meeting, 92-83, on November 26 this
season at the Air Canada Centre…Indiana has won nine of 13 and 13 of the
last 18 meetings with Toronto, which has lost eight of its last 10 at Conseco