Paul George said it best when he told reporters what stat he was looking at after the game, and that was the nine fourth quarter points. What happened with Indiana in the fourth is mind-boggling as, like George pointed out, they managed just nine points on 4/15 shooting (26.7%).
Going into the final period, Indiana had an offense that looked like it wasn’t going to be stopped. Through the first three quarters, the Pacers tallied 90 points on 29/58 shooting from the field, 12/23 from three, and 20/21 from the line. Not only were they making shots, but their ball movement was almost immaculate. The unselfishness led to 20 assists, only nine turnovers, and a 13-point lead over Toronto.
George was having the best performance and poured in 37 on 10/16 shooting before going into the fourth. His impact would diminish, however, as he looked gassed according to coach Frank Vogel.
It was just as puzzling on Toronto’s side as Dwane Casey elected not to play Jonas Valanciunas, Patrick Patterson, and DeMarre Carroll in the fourth because of their struggles throughout the night; Norman Powell, Bismack Biyombo, and Cory Joseph played the whole fourth off the bench.
The Raptors outscored the Pacers with a 25-point quarter. It started with a 15-2 run, and Toronto never looked back — until Indiana cut their lead to one. Powell, the rookie, had a ferocious dunk after stealing a pass from Monta Ellis and tied the score at 92 all. DeRozan and Joseph then hit back-to-back threes to extend their lead to 98-92 with less than 3:30 to play.
Indiana scored seven of their nine points within the final three minutes, including a three by Soloman Hill with 15.9 seconds left to trim Toronto’s lead to 100-99. After fouling DeRozan, he extended their back up to three with a pair of free throws.
On the final play of the game, Monta Ellis inbounded the ball to George, who was doubled before he could get his shot off. Cory Joseph helped off Soloman Hill, and George shoveled him a pass right into his shooting pocket, and Hill proceeded to hit the game-tying shot. His make was waved off after officials reviewed it.
DeRozan was able to return to his All-Star form and battled George with 34 of his own. He shot 10/22 from the field, but took 13 trips to the foul line and connected on 12 of them. Kyle Lowry stayed in his slump and had just 14 on 3/11 shooting; Bismack Biyombo had a double-double with ten points and 16 rebounds and Norman Powell added ten points as well.
Toronto can clinch the series this Friday, April 29, in Indiana.