The Indiana Pacers are hoping they put their recent woes behind them with a much-needed win last time out.
Looking to snap a season-worst five-game road losing streak, the Pacers continue their quest for first place in the Eastern Conference when they visit the playoff-bound Toronto Raptors, who could be without two key pieces Friday night.
Indiana (53-23) had dropped three straight and five of six before pulling out a 101-94 win over Detroit on Wednesday. Paul George led six Pacers in double figures with 27 points while adding 13 rebounds and seven assists.
"Once you’re not playing well and you finally get a win, the hardest part is maintaining that consistency," said George, who had averaged 16.0 points while shooting 33.0 percent over the previous seven games. "You have to understand that it’s going to be different every night, but you got to find a way to build off the first win."
The Pacers shot 49.4 percent for their best mark in 2 1/2 weeks and limited the Pistons to a season-low 36.6 percent.
"Good win. We took a step in the right direction," coach Frank Vogel said. "It won’t snap back into place after being out of rhythm the last two weeks. We’re getting open shots and that’s encouraging. I thought we were playing the right way, work our tail off defensively, trust the passing and results will come."
Thanks to its recent slide, Indiana is percentage points behind Miami for the East’s top seed.
"We’re happy to get a ‘W’, but we have a bigger goal," guard Lance Stephenson said. "We’re happy, but we’re not too happy."
The Pacers have dropped eight of 10 on the road, including five straight while averaging 77.6 points.
"We’re just trying to win a road game," forward David West said. "At this moment we haven’t won a road game in quite some time. We have to be able to put together some solid quarters, some solid possessions, and give ourselves a chance to win."
Indiana is 2-1 against the Raptors (43-32) this season, with both wins coming at home. The Pacers had won four straight in Toronto before falling 95-82 on Jan. 1.
The Raptors have won four of five after beating Houston 107-103 on Wednesday. Toronto was without starting point guard Kyle Lowry due to a sore knee, then lost forward Amir Johnson to an ankle injury less than three minutes in.
Both players are uncertain to suit up Friday.
"Every win is great for us right now for what we’re trying to do, especially with Kyle out and Amir out," said coach Dwane Casey, whose team is tied with Chicago for third place in the East. "Hopefully it gives our guys some confidence."
DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, playing the final three minutes with a bandage on his non-shooting left hand after getting cut on his palm. He needed stitches afterward but isn’t expected to miss any time.
"Everybody understands what’s at hand," DeRozan told the team’s official website. "When you get the chance to go out there, you’ve got to perform. Everybody knows that, and everybody has stepped their game up."
DeRozan, averaging a team-high 22.8 points, has posted 28.3 during a four-game stretch at home. He scored a combined 54 in the last two meetings against Indiana.
The Raptors have surrendered 92.7 points per game in winning 12 of 14 at home against East opponents.