Malcolm Brogdon had 36 points and nine assists and the Indiana Pacers bounced back to beat the Toronto Raptors 129-114 on Monday.
Fred VanVleet had 25 points to top the Raptors (7-10), who split the two-game mini-series with the Pacers. Norman Powell added 24 points, while Kyle Lowry had 12 points and OG Anunoby finished with 10.
Lowry, who was back after missing two games with a toe infection, had a rough night, shooting 2-for-11 from the field. The all-star guard picked up two quick technicals and was ejected with 47 seconds to play, tugging off his jersey as he went to locker-room.
The Raptors were missing Pascal Siakam (left knee swelling) for the second consecutive game.
Damontas Sabonis had 11 points for Indy (10-7) before leaving the game with a left knee contusion late in the first quarter. Brogdon had been held to just 12 points on Sunday.
WATCH | Brogdon’s big night helps Pacers top Raptors:
Coming off an impressive 107-102 win at Indiana the previous day, the Raptors got off to a sluggish start and trailed by 14 points in the first half.
They dialled up the energy in the third quarter with a defensive effort punctuated by back-to-back Chris Boucher blocks. Boucher smashed the first block — on a Doug McDermott three-point attempt — over the Raptors bench, hollering at his teammates in celebration.
Yuta Watanabe’s sidestep three tied the game midway through the third, and the Raptors trailed 98-97 with one quarter to play.
Nurse says Lowry probably wasn’t 100%, but he wouldn’t use it as an excuse. He wanted to go through whole workout, and he was a late decision to play.
With Anunoby in the locker-room for most of the fourth, receiving stitches for a split lip, the Raptors let up on the defensive end, and T.J. McConnell’s floating jumper made it a 10-point game with 1:50 to play. Myles Turner waltzed in for an open dunk on Indy’s next possession and it was all but game over.
Over an ugly final 47 seconds, Lowry was ejected and then Raptors coach Nick Nurse picked up a technical foul.
The Raptors’ defensive effort was an issue from the opening tipoff, and when Sabonis scored on a running dunk late in the first quarter, the Pacers went up by eight points. The Raptors replied with a 7-0 run and trailed 33-30 to start the second.
Shooting 63.6 per cent from the field in the second quarter, Brogdon connected on three consecutive baskets late in the half to give Indy a 14-point lead. VanVleet’s fadeaway shot with less than a second on the clock sliced the difference to 70-60 at halftime.
The NBA has scheduled two-game series this season to reduce travel and limit exposure to COVID-19.
The Raptors are back at their temporary home of Tampa’s Amalie Arena to host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.