INDIANAPOLIS – It looked like Victor Oladipo wasn’t the only Pacer to take the night off during their Sunday matchup with the Raptors.
The Pacers (33-24) were embarrassed by the Toronto Raptors, losing 127-81.
Losing by 46 points marked the second largest defeat in Pacers franchise history.
“That’s a wakeup call, man,” Nate McMillan said after his team got blown out. “I mean that team is playing for something big and they showed us what February, March, April, if you can get into May and June, what it’s going to look like, and what you got to play against. They jumped on us, they came with the intensity, they play with a sense of urgency. That team is connected out there. We’re back on our heels from the start of this game. Its NBA basketball, and we got to get to that level.”
The Raptors (42-15) jumped out to a 15-1 lead on Sunday and the Pacers never looked like a team capable of keeping it within double digits.
It was a season-low 81 points from Indiana, who did play without Victor Oladipo (back spasms). Not a single Indiana starter sniffed shooting 50 percent from the floor.
The Pacers finished shooting 32 percent from the floor, 24 percent from three and got outrebounded by 18.
Sunday marked the third time that the Raptors had beaten the Pacers this month.
This 48-minute game was all but over before the first media timeout.
“This is about pride,” McMillan said after the huge loss. “You get kicked like this, the response is come out and play basketball, it’s as simple as that. We’ve got to play with more energy, more effort, more connection, more of everything. It’s as simple as that.”
Jeremy Lamb left Sunday’s loss with a left knee injury.
Three Things Learned
-Dominated From The Onset: Where to even begin with the disaster that was on Sunday’s performance. The Raptors had already scored 15 points before the Pacers made their first field goal. On a night when Victor Oladipo was sidelined, and the offense wasn’t producing at all, it was head-scratching to see Domantas Sabonis go an entire quarter without attempting a field goal. The Pacers were horrific on both ends of the floor in one of the worst losses this franchise will ever see. It was especially disappointing to see considering the Raptors had already beaten Indiana twice this month.
-Where Are The Marquee Road Wins? No, this isn’t an NCAA Tournament resume, but it is noteworthy when projecting how things might go for the Pacers come playoff time. Look up and down the 57-game schedule for the Pacers so far and you aren’t going to find marquee road wins. Even a win in Denver had the asterisk of the Nuggets missing 3 of their key guys. Of course, Indiana has hardly been at full health either. But the main issue here comes from the huge need of getting homecourt. It’s just really difficult to see the Pacers, or any 5-8 seed, winning multiple games away from home come Round One. Indiana is back to 3.5 games behind the Heat for the 4th seed.
-Oladipo Sits Out With Back Injury: The back spasms which flared up in Friday’s second half against the Knicks forced Victor Oladipo to miss Saturday’s practice and then Sunday’s game with the Raptors. It meant that the expected starting lineup for this season has still been intact for just 3 games. The rotation could see some adjusting, too, if Jeremy Lamb (knee) has to miss any time after his injury on Sunday. With 25 games remaining in the regular season, these absences continues to delay and stunt any sort of growth the main guys can get together. For Oladipo, it’s even more important as his ascent is a must for this team to do anything of substance in the postseason.
Pacers Upcoming Schedule
-Hornets 2/25 (Tuesday)
-Trailblazers 2/27 (Thursday)
-at Cavaliers 2/29 (Saturday)
-at Spurs 3/2 (Monday)
-at Bucks 3/4 (Wednesday)
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