Wow. Consider me shocked. They say the playoffs offer a reset button, and I suppose that’s true, because the Indiana Pacers just crashed the party by taking game one from the Toronto Raptors with a 100-90 victory.
Paul George went OFF in the second half, finishing with 33 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks. He shot 12-22 from the field and 4-5 from 3-point range.
It was a sloppy game, an ugly game at times with lots of bodies flying and whistles that baffled both sides. But PG proved to be the difference in the end, torching the Raptors defense and hitting one big shot after another.
Monta Ellis had 15 and George Hill had 10, but neither really stood out. Ellis, in particular, missed a bunch of fast break opportunities (the whole team did, really). Other key contributors were Myles Turner (thanks to foul trouble from Ian Mahinmi), who had 10 points and 5 rebounds, and Solomon Hill, who hit all 10 of his free throws to finish with 13.
The Pacers did a great job defensively on Toronto’s All-Star guards. Lowry was only 3-13 from the field and 4-9 from the line, finishing with 11 points and 6 turnovers, while DeRozan shot 5-19 for 14 points.
Looking ahead, the Pacers will have to keep an eye on Jonas Valanciunas, who absolutely dominated the glass and finished with 12 points and 19 rebounds. It would have been a lot more had he not been bothered by foul trouble in the second half.
The winner of the first game have won a series 77% of the time, and the Raptors have now lost their last 7 playoff games (and 3 consecutive game ones in a row at home). That bodes well for the Pacers, though I’d still say the odds are on the Raptors’ side.
The Pacers have played poorly all season when ahead, so they’ll have to dig extra deep to not lay an egg in game 2. You have to assume that the Raptors are capable of getting one in Indy, so Paul George and the Pacers must step on the Raptors’ throat and go for the kill.