The Toronto Raptors drop to 2-4 as they take a loss to the red hot Indiana Pacers. The first half was a joy to watch, with the Raptors being up by 10 after the first, and going into the second half with a 2 point lead.
All of that – suddenly wiped out by a Pacer team that came in with better body language, and with a much better effort. The Raptors looked like a playoff team in the first half of this bout, the second half? Good old Raptors.
This team would have had a much higher grade had they been able to keep up the 55% shooting at the end of the first quarter, or even the 45% after the first half. The Raptors ended with an abysmal 39.5% field goal percentage, and coughed up the ball 15 times. The turnovers in the 3rd quarter absolutely killed this team, allowing the Pacers to gain momentum, and eventually create a 20 point swing; putting them up double digits come the final quarter.
The Raps also had 8 assists after the first quarter, but finished the game with 16 – only 8 assists in three quarters. Awful. The ball movement that was present in the first half of the game disappeared completely in the second half, the ball started to stick, and player movement was minimal. It was like watching an all ages open gym on a Friday night. Yikes.
The defense has been quite inconsistent, but the Raptors went into halftime holding the Pacers to 40% field goal shooting. It’s obvious this team is much better when they go with the regular two bigs, meaning no small ball.
The Raps were also able to hold the Pacers to 28.6% from three point land. Going into the second half though, this team’s defense took a major step back, with poor transition defense, and many breakdowns and missed rotations. After holding the Pacers to 40% shooting, they finished the game with 46%. If this team’s backbone is defense, how can they only play for half a game?
The Raptors were up +7 on the rebounding battle going into the half, and finished the game +4 overall. That itself was a major positive, out-rebounding one of the best teams in that part of the game. The team was also +6 on the offensive rebounding department, which was one of Frank Vogel’s keys to watch out for pre-game. What took this team away from being an A+ was being -2 on the defensive rebounds.
Game Ball: Rudy Gay
Rudy finally showed up to play, and despite needing 26 shots to get to his game-high and season-high 30 points, it was a solid shooting percentage (46%). He was also great on the defensive end, grabbing 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and went on a block party by himself, with 3 on the night. The blocks he had were certainly highlight reel material. The best part of Rudy’s game tonight was holding Paul George to 7-21 (23 points) on the night. Hopefully this game will give Rudy a wake up call, because this type of game is what Raptor fans are expecting every single night, at least in terms of shooting percentage.