The Indiana Pacers close out their regular season with a win in Tampa, Florida over the Toronto Raptors. The Pacers, facing a heavily-resting Raptors team, made up their difference on the scoreboard late in the second quarter, outscoring Toronto 19-6 late to go up by double figures.
They held that lead for much of the second half, pushing ahead by as many as 18, though the Raptors were able to close the gap in half in the fourth. Domantas Sabonis had a response, scoring four and dishing to Oshae Brissett on a three pointer to help close out the 125-113 win.
Brissett led the way for three 20-point scorers for the Pacers with a career best 31. He shot 10-16 overall and 5-8 from three, finishing with a double double with 10 rebounds. Brissett not only scored early, but he scored often, providing the Pacers with a steady flow of offense throughout the game.
All 10 of his field goals were assisted on and he led the way with nine free throw attempts. The Pacers as a team moved the ball exceptionally well, totaling 34 assists on 48 buckets, led by T.J. McConnell with 17. McConnell had a double double of his own with 12 assists, taking on the point guard role in the second half with Caris LeVert leaving at the half with a migraine. McConnell wasn’t shy on highlight passes either, including a full court dime to Brissett.
Sabonis also had a double double, wrapping up a 25 point, 16 rebound night by closing out the game with 12 in the fourth. He did have a surprisingly low assist total of five, though he did find Doug McDermott for two of his three first quarter three. McDermott had four from deep overall, scoring 20.
Kelan Martin hit three triples of his own to lead the bench unit with 13 points, the Pacers as a team shooting an effective 15-37 from deep. Three point shooting helped Indiana stay afloat early until they were able to put a clamp on the game in the second quarter.
Though there were some defensive stretches that weren’t great, the Pacers did hold the Raptors to 40.2% shooting and just 50 paint points, though they did allow 16 offensive rebounds and 29 free throw attempts. The Pacers outscored the Raptors 20-9 in points off turnovers and had 23 fast break points to counter it, proving enough for the victory.
The win wraps up a 34-38 regular season for the Pacers, securing them a 9th place finish in the East heading into the play-in games this week. The Pacers finish 21-15 on the road, their 5th best road record in franchise history, of course offset entirely by their abysmal 13-23 home record.
That home record may come into play this week as the Pacers shift in the play-in games that start on Tuseday. An absolute thriller in DC saw the Washington Wizards comeback against the Charlotte Hornets in the fourth, outscoring them 36-20 in the final period to finish 8th.
That means the Pacers will host the Hornets on Tuesday on TNT, entering on a five-game losing streak. The Pacers lost the season series 1-2, though neither team has much in common with even who they were back on April 2 when the Hornets rolled to a 17-point win. For more reading on this upcoming game, check out Caitlin Cooper’s preview.
Caitlin’s other play-in preview, highlighting the Wizards, is important reading as well, as the Pacers will need a win not only against the Hornets but against the loser of Tuesday’s Boston/Washington game to give them a chance of playing the Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs as the 8 seed.