A pivotal Game 5 between the unfriendly host Toronto Raptors and the visiting Indiana Pacers at the Air Canada Centre proved to be full of momentum changes and dramatic moments that if scripted would be hard for anyone to believe could actually happen in reality. Raptors head coach Dwane Casey opted to make a rotation change, bringing Patrick Patterson into the starting line up at power forward, moving Luis Scola to the bench. The Pacers Ian Mahinmi, who had a strong double-double in the Pacers’ Game 4 win, was dealing with lower back issues and would likely be limited in Game 5.
The Pacers got off to yet another incredible hot start, scoring 35 first quarter points, and led by as many as 17 points in the quarter. The Pacers held the Raptors to 20 points, and had a 15 point lead heading into the second quarter. The Pacers were on fire from three-point range, making 7 of 10 three-point attempts in the first quarter alone.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel opted to take Paul George and George Hill out of the line up at the same time to give them some rest to start the second quarter. As a result, the Raptors went on a 13-0 run to start the second quarter, cutting the Pacers’ lead to three points, 36-33, after just the first three minutes of the quarter. Paul George returned to the game at that point, as did Monta Ellis (who was also on the bench to start the second quarter), and the Pacers started to build a lead again, taking a 61-52 advantage into halftime.
The Raptors held their own offensively in the third quarter, scoring 25 points, but defensively they couldn’t stop the Pacers who scored 29 points extending their nine point halftime lead to 13 points heading into the ‘make or break’ fourth quarter.
Raptors Coach Dwane Casey started the fourth quarter with Cory Joseph, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell, and Bismack Biyombo on the floor. This unit would prove to be catalysts in the fourth quarter. As mentioned, the Raptors were down 13 points, 90-77, but with Frank Vogel opting to rest Paul George and George Hill once again, this time to start the fourth, the Raptors rallied, summoning what would prove to be an incredible comeback.
With 6:36 to go in the fourth quarter, Norman Powell stole the ball on a pass attempt from Monta Ellis to Paul George and threw down an emphatic slam dunk to tie the game at 92-92.
From that moment on, the game’s outcome was literally in the balance on every play, in every second down the stretch. The Raptors managed pull ahead, and extended their lead to six points, but in the games’s final moments the Pacers battled back and Solomon Hill hit a 3-pointer with 15.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter cutting the Raptors lead to one point, 100-99. DeMar DeRozan was fouled and made both free throws to extend the lead to three points, 102-99. The Pacers had the final possession of the quarter, and Paul George found Solomon Hill, once again, and made a 3-point shot at the buzzer – seemingly tying the game – silencing the Air Canada Centre crowd. The referees reviewed the play, and the video showed that the ball was still in Hill’s hand as the clock hit triple zeroes…and the Raptors held on for a dramatic 102-99 Game 5 win to take a 3-2 series lead. The Pacers managed only NINE points in the fourth quarter, on a paltry 4-15 shooting.
Paul George, who has been incredible all series, took his game to a whole new level. George scored 39 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, handed out 8 assists, two steals, and a block.
DeMar DeRozan had a huge game, and it was his best performance since the end of the regular season when he scored 27 points vs. the Knicks in the third to last game of the season. DeRozan erupted for 34 points, including 12-13 from the free throw line, leading the way for Toronto in this ‘must win’ Game 5 in front of a racuous Air Canada Centre home crowd.
Kyle Lowry still didn’t have a good night shooting from the field, just 3 of 11, but he ensured he made an impact anywhere he could. Lowry stepped in to take the charge and drew offensive fouls agsint the Pacers, and he was active on the glass earning a key tip out for a second chance shot late in the game. Lowry also dished out five assists and committed zero turnovers.
Game 6, a potential close out game for the Toronto Raptors, will be played on Friday night in Indianapolis. The game’s tip off time is to be determined.
Notable Raptors Stat lines:
The Raptors committed only eight total turnovers as a team, leading to only six points for the Pacers.
Jonas Valanciunas – 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal
DeMar DeRozan – 34 points (10-22 from the field, 2-4 from three, and 12-13 from the free throw line), three rebounds, two assists, one steal
Kyle Lowry – 14 points (7-8 free throws), four rebounds, five assists, one steal
Bismack Biyombo – Ten points (4-4 free throws) and 16 rebounds (double-double)
Cory Joseph – Eight points, three rebounds, two steals
Norman Powell – Ten points, four rebounds, two steals
Notable Pacers Stat lines:
The Pacers committed 16 turnovers as a team leading to 19 Raptors points.
Paul George – 39 points (11-19 from the field, including 5-11 from three, and 12-12 from the free throw line), eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one block
Myles Turner – 14 points, eight rebounds, three blocks
George Hill – 15 points (4-7 from three), two rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block
Solomon Hill – 11 points (3-3 from three) and six rebounds
Postgame Media Sessions:
Kyle Lowry & DeMar DeRozan
“Frank Vogel and Paul George talk with the media following the Pacers Game 5 loss to the Raptors in Toronto.”
Postgame Locker Room Reactions: