National Basketball Association
Raptors-Pacers Preview
National Basketball Association

Raptors-Pacers Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 12:08 p.m. ET

The Indiana Pacers are trying to get their spirits back up after putting their season in jeopardy by blowing a huge lead.

The Toronto Raptors now have a cushion in this first-round series, although they don't want to think about that as they go back on the road.

The Pacers aim to force a seventh game when they host the Raptors on Friday night, while Toronto tries to capture a seven-game series for the first time.

Indiana led by 15 late in the third quarter Tuesday but lost 102-99 at Toronto. The Pacers, outscored 25-9 in the fourth, were still feeling the effects of the collapse at Thursday's practice with star Paul George saying he wasn't over it.


"A chance to make Friday night a special Friday night in a close-out game and we blew it, we blew the opportunity, it's frustration," said George, who scored 39 points.

Now the Pacers, who have won their three previous first-round series, are looking to stay alive and earn a return to Toronto on Sunday.

"It's a desperation feeling," George said. "We'll give everything we have tomorrow night and make sure that that's enough."

Raptors stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have been far from their best in the series, with Lowry averaging 15.2 points and 31.4 percent shooting. DeRozan broke out with 34 points in Game 5 after averaging 13.3 and 29.6 percent in the first four.

''It's all about patience,'' DeRozan said. ''You can't get flustered, you can't get frustrated. You've got to stay the course. That's what we're going to continue to do.''

The Raptors have won a playoff series once, beating New York in five games in 2001. They are eager to get off to a better start after facing double-digit deficits after one quarter the last two games.

"You gotta treat this like Game 7," coach Dwane Casey said. "We gotta come out fighting, we know their backs are going to be against the wall. We can't go and get ambushed."

Toronto wasn't eager to re-visit being in this position against Brooklyn two years ago, when it lost Game 6 on the road and Game 7 at home.

"What happened two years ago is in the past as well as what happened last year is in the past," forward Patrick Patterson said. "To think about it, to dwell about it, none of us really do that. We focus on this opportunity we have now."

Patterson made his first start of the series Tuesday in place of Luis Scola, who did not play.

The Raptors' strong finish came with three reserves on the court for the final 12 minutes in Bismack Biyombo, Cory Joseph and Norman Powell. Biyombo had 10 points and 16 boards.

Toronto was down 13 when it scored the first six points of a 21-2 run to open the fourth quarter with George on the bench. The same scenario occurred in the second quarter as the Raptors cut a 15-point deficit to three with George resting.

George said he would be willing to play 48 minutes Friday, although he won't lobby coach Frank Vogel to do so.

"Coach is getting a lot of criticism for taking me out," George said. "Both times he took me out we were in the drivers' seat and looking comfortable, up 15, up 13 both times. We're supposed to do our job and maintain that lead, extend that lead."


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