Watching Roy Hibbert play against the Raptors always makes me cry a bit. I am doing a feature on March Madness and talked with him. Asked him how does it feel to return to your former team for 2 weeks. He laughed and said they should have kept me. Jokes aside they really should have. Pacers are still in the playoff hunt in the East. Raptors playoff hunt died some would say when Chris Bosh said he was going to South Beach. But playoffs have been off their radar pretty much the entire season. As Ryan said in preview Raptors have been reduced to spoilers at this point.
James Johnson a quick basket to open the proceeds and he picks up a foul at the other end non-shooting. Former Raptor Roy Hibbert with the answer to tie it at 2. Funny I am doing a feature on March Madness and Tyler Hansbrough who won a title at UNC had back to back baskets but Raptors lead 8-6. Raptors had an early 6 points from James Johnson but a Granger 3 and Paul George bucket and foul which he missed left this puppy tied at 13. Pacers took the lead 15-13 and a time out and DeRozan it would set off a Raptor 10-0 and Pacers now needed the time out trailing 23-15 in first with 3:52 to go. This is not what they wanted to see with Raptors have hope of a win. Raptors would maintain the lead for the most part leading 32-27 after 1. Raptors shot 65% in that opening quarter and yet just up 5 points.
Raptors came out and built on the lead Barbosa had 9 already off the bench for the Raptors and that was the lead as well 38-29. Barbosa was hot as hell a score on break then a wide open 3 and he had 14 and Raptors lead was up two touchdowns. Given the news in NFL today will use some football terminology because they won't be for awhile. The Blur was just that on both defence and offence and it was having a huge impact on this game. The Raptors were benefiting with 43-29 lead and the Pacers needed a time out. Barbosa had hit 5 of his first 6 shots.
A sloppy turnover and Pacers get an easy bucket on the break. Barbosa misses and Hansbrough gets a slam dunk. Barbosa would get back on track and hit a jumper for two but the former UConn stantout A.J Price nailed a 3 pointer and Pacers were showing some fight as they were battling to hang on to the 8th spot in the East. They had trimmed a few points off the Raptors lead and it was 47-36. Reggie Evans battling on the glass gets rebound number 7 of what would be an eventual 8 in the half. 4 offensive and 4 defensive an equal opportunity rebounder and it would that 7th board would lead to a Barbosa bucket giving him 18 points which is what he would end up with for the half. Pacers were getting tagged with a lot off silly offensive fouls the latest of those to Danny Granger and it was not helping the comeback effort. A three from Granger later who help and got Pacers to single digits. That would be short lived as Calderon would find Ed Davis and he made the basket in the paint and got fouled made the and 1 as well and Raptors were up a dozen. They would continue to ride this effort to the half and lead 62-48 at the break.
The third quarter as it would turn out would be the worst of the night for the Raptors. After scoring 32 and 30 in first two quarters points would be harder to come by in the 3rd. James Johnson after a perfect 6-6 in the first half and 13 points would not score a point in the the 2nd half or take a shot. But Jay Triano said after the game it was more important that he kept Danny Granger under control. which he would do a good job of in 2nd half as Granger had just 11. Despite the good 3rd quarter for the Pacers they only manged to take 4 points off the lead and Raptors took a 83-73 advantage to the 4th quarter.
The Raptors and Pacers would play the 4th quarter to a stalemate. The Raptors after being in an almost identically position as they were against Utah with a 14 point lead with about 7 minutes to play. This time the Raptors would stop the bleeding quickly after a little slippage Triano called a time out and it got the Raptors back on track. There may not have been drama in the outcome the rest of the way after that. But there was in the final moments. Darren Collison earlier in the year had nailed a 3 point shoot late in a game when Pacers could have just dribbled it out for a win. Raptors remembered that and Leandro Barbosa remembered that as did the Raptors. Barbosa would take a chance to score late creating some ill will with a frustrated Pacers club that is free falling out of the playoffs with their 6th straight loss losing to the Raptors 108-98.
Danny Granger was not a happy man and basically said he would have done ill will to Barbosa had he not feared being suspended. But a Raptor never forgets I guess is the lesson of this story. It was a good night for one of the DNB's Favourites in Reggie Evans with 16 boards. He gave his take on this whole thing post game. You can find Barbosa's thought on it on Raptors.com and my bald head in James Johnson's post game scrum. Here is Reggie's thoughts on end of the game and his own performance, some praise for Ed Davis as well.
That is a wrap on this one. Had interviews with T.J Ford talking about Canada's big 3 ballers in Thompson, Joesph and Kabongo on the way. Also first chance to talk with Demar DeRozan since his whole all-star experience and a nice performance in England. Look for those in the coming days. Up next for the Raptors is the Bobcats who are chasing the Pacers something they might want have kept in mind before talking smack about the Raptors.