Trailing 2-1 in the best-of-7-series, the Indiana Pacers needed to put together a stellar effort in Game 4 on Saturday. The 100-83 win over the Toronto Raptors evened the series, leading to a high profile Game 5. Now the Raptors have all the pressure to advance.
Paul George was the main attraction in the first three games, but the Pacers had plenty of help from George Hill and Ian Mahinmi. They each led the Pacers with 22 points. George finished with 19 points, while Mahinmi added 10 rebounds in the critical Game 4 win.
They also had help by the putrid shooting of the Raptors. Overall, the Raptors shot 37 percent from the field. They were 8 of 30 from 3-point range. Meanwhile, the Pacers connected on 47 percent of their field goal attempts.
With 5:03 left in the game, and the Raptors trailing 87-69, tempers started to flare. Jonas Valanciunas pushed George out of the way after a made free throw. The incident produced a double technical and one technical by DeMarre Carroll.
Neither team could get going in the third quarter. The Pacers weren’t much better, however, C.J. Miles last second tip-in gave Indiana a 73-58 lead entering the fourth period. After another 12 minutes of play, the Raptors were right where they were at halftime. Yet, the Raptors had a number of chances to make the game competitive in the second half. With countless opportunities to cut the deficit to single digits, they missed 10 3-pointers in their futile attempt to mount a comeback.
A bizarre clear-path foul called on Paul George could have changed the game. Instead, Bismack Biyombo missed both free throw attempts, leading to another empty trip on the offensive end. Of course, they ended the possession with their 15th turnover.
Hill led the Pacers with 14 first half points. Ian Mahinmi had 11 points. As a team, the Pacers shot 56 percent from the field, but had their 25 point lead get cut to 57-42 on Kyle Lowry’s two foul shots in the final second. Hill was phenomenal, making all five of his shots in the first half.
It was a total team effort for the Pacers. They finished the first half with 16 assists and six steals. Overall, the Pacers forced 11 first half turnovers, while only committing four. It’s the main reason why they never trailed in the first half.
Defensively, the Pacers caused the Raptors’ backcourt angst once again. Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for six first half turnovers. DeRozan only made 2 of 8 shots from the field in the first half.
DeRozan finished the game shooting 4 of 15 from the field, scoring eight points. He also had six turnovers. Lowry scored 12 points, while fouling out midway through the final quarter.
The Pacers jumped out to a 28-16 lead in the first half. After losing Game 3, they knew this was their chance to stay in the series. Now it’s tied at 2-2, with three games remaining to pull the upset.