Three straight losses, including a mind boggler at home to Utah on Wednesday, meant the Pacers couldn’t have arrived in Toronto any sooner. The Raptors got back on the winning track last night, beating Indiana for the eighth time in their last nine meetings at Air Canada Centre, 108-98 behind a season-high 29 points from Leandro Barbosa.
Barbosa did much of his damage in the first half, scoring 14 points in his first four minutes off the bench to help Toronto build a double-digit lead it never surrendered. Ed Davis had a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in place of an injured Amir Johnson, Jose Calderon had 13 and eight assists and DeMar DeRozan had 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Reggie Evans again got plenty burn in his second game back from a broken foot, playing 26 minutes and grabbing 16 boards. He also set a team record by airballing two free throws within a stretch of about two minutes, though he did manage to connect once on four attempts for his only point of the contest.
The Raptors shot 53.1% from the field against Indiana’s horrific defense, and that was even with a 1-of-13 effort from Andrea Bargnani, who was returning from a one-game absence with the flu. Aside from Bargnani, the team shot 61.8% (42-of-68).
Indiana has now lost six straight but still somehow sits tied with Charlotte for eighth in the East at 27-38. That’s Eastern Conference basketball for you, folks, and you’ll appreciate it even more when Toronto somehow gets to the playoffs with 35 wins at some point in the next five years. The Raptors will get another shot at playing the spoiler for an undeserving playoff contender, as those very Bobcats are in town for a 1:00 tip at the ACC tomorrow.