Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) goes under Indiana Pacers guards Malcolm Brogdon (7) and Jeremy Lamb (26) to shoot during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Michael Conroy

Brogdon scores 36 points to lead Pacers over Toronto Raptors

Brogdon scores 36 points to lead Pacers over Toronto Raptors

INDIANAPOLIS — The Toronto Raptors are discovering the ups and downs of the NBA’s new two-game series format.

A day after Toronto’s impressive victory at Indiana, Malcolm Brogdon and the fired-up Pacers hit back with a 129-114 win that unravelled over the dying minutes.

“Teams like that, when we’re playing back to back, they’re going to come out and give us everything they have at the start because they don’t want to lose two games in a row,” said Norman Powell, who had 24 points on the night.

A day after he’d been held to just a dozen points by Toronto, Brogdon poured in a career-high 36, plus doled out nine assists.

Fred VanVleet had 25 points to top the Raptors (7-10), who beat Indy 107-102 the previous day.

The NBA has implemented a two-game series format this season to reduce travel and limit exposure to COVID-19. The Raptors benefitted against Miami, last week bouncing back after a loss to beat the Heat.

But the tables were turned Monday, and the Raptors, said coach Nick Nurse, “were half a count slow early in the game.

“We just weren’t back (on defence) and we just weren’t taking good enough shots to give our defence a chance, and our defence wasn’t quite ready enough, so that’s it,” Nurse said.

Brogdon said he’d been on the phone with coach Nate Bjorkgren, Nurse’s former assistant and good friend, after the previous day’s loss “trying to figure out how to make adjustments. I was really angry after (Sunday) night’s game.

“I was incredibly locked in today,” Brogdon said. “We both love the game, we both think about the game all the time and we both hate losing. It drove me crazy until we were able to get back on the court tonight.”

Kyle Lowry, who’d missed the two previous games with a toe infection, had 12 points on just 2-for-11 shooting.

“It was a pretty late decision for him to play,” Nurse said. “I think (the toe) is probably not 100 per cent, but I think he probably wouldn’t use that as an excuse.”

The all-star guard picked up two quick technicals and was ejected with 47 seconds to play, tugging off his jersey in frustration as he stomped to the locker-room.

A livid Nurse received a technical seconds later, and was still fuming after a game that saw the Pacers go to the line 45 times — 18 times more than Toronto.

“Obviously (the Pacers) shot a million, they called the foul every time they drove in the second half,” Nurse said. “So, it wasn’t very physical at all, they weren’t letting us play very much.”

VanVleet said the officials warned players midway through the first quarter about too many complaints, which set the tone for the night.

“You’ve got to take it in stride, the referees certainly weren’t the reason why we lost but it definitely adds a different element to the game in that sometimes it’s kinda hard to overcome — especially on a back-to-back like that,” VanVleet said.

The Raptors, who were missing Pascal Siakam (left knee swelling) for the second consecutive night, got off to a sluggish start and trailed by 14 points in the first half.

The Raptors dialed up the energy in the third quarter with a defensive effort punctuated by back-to-back Chris Boucher blocks. Boucher smashed the first block — on a Doug McDermott three-point attempt — over the Raptors bench, hollering at his teammates in celebration.

Yuta Watanabe’s sidestep three tied the game midway through the third, and the Raptors trailed 98-97 with one quarter to play.

With OG Anunoby in the locker-room for the fourth receiving stitches for a split lip, the Raptors let up on the defensive end, and T.J. McConnell’s floating jumper made it a 10-point game with 1:50 to play. Myles Turner waltzed in for an open dunk on Indy’s next possession and it was all but game over.

The Raptors’ defensive effort was an issue from the opening tipoff, and when Domantas Sabonis scored on a running dunk late in the first quarter, the Pacers went up by eight points. The Raptors replied with a 7-0 run and trailed 33-30 to start the second.

Shooting 63.6 per cent from the field in the second quarter, Brogdon connected on three consecutive baskets late in the half to give Indy a 14-point lead. VanVleet’s fadeaway shot with less than a second on the clock sliced the difference to 70-60 at halftime.

The Raptors are back at their temporary home of Tampa’s Amalie Arena to host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press

raptors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Traffic will be delayed on 40th Avenue and 19th Street until the end of February. (Advocate file photo).
Traffic delays expected downtown this weekend

Red Deer drivers will be delayed in the downtown area of the… Continue reading

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read