INDIANAPOLIS – Down their most important player for more than half of Monday’s game, the Pacers got one for their head coach.
A career-night from Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner playing one of his best stretches of his career allowed the Pacers (10-7) to overcome the absence of Domantas Sabonis, who left with a knee contusion in Monday’s second quarter.
In outscoring the Raptors (7-10) by 14 points in the 4th quarter, the Pacers made sure they got a split in this back-to-back series, beating Nate Bjorkgren’s old team 129-114 on Monday night.
Brogdon rebounded from his worst game of the season on Sunday to score a career-high 36 points.
Turner scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
That duo combined to go 24-of-30 from the foul line, as the Pacers shot an eye-popping 45 free throws, the most attempts for the franchise since 2013.
Jeremy Lamb was again productive off the bench, scoring 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
With the Raptors having Kyle Lowry back playing on Monday, the Pacers held the Raptors to just 17 points in the final quarter, after Toronto had scored at least 30 in each of the first three quarters.
Even before Sabonis got hurt on Monday, Bjorkgren wanted to extend the rotation from the 8 players he played on Sunday.
Indiana played 11 guys, as several guys got some key run, which could be important depending on how much time Sabonis is to miss.
The Pacers will play two straight games against the same team again this week. That will occur with road games against the Hornets on Wednesday and Friday.
Three Things Learned
1. Pissed Off Malcolm Brogdon: How frustrated was Malcolm Brogdon after going 5-of-22 (1-of-10 from three) from the floor against the Raptors on Sunday? Brogdon was on the phone with his head coach around 10:30 PM on Sunday, lamenting the struggles he had in the afternoon loss to the Raptors. Wanting revenge, Brogdon got that on Monday against the same team. Brogdon was 10-of-17 (3-of-5 from 3, 13-of-14 from the line) from the floor scoring a career-high 36 points, adding 7 rebounds and 9 assists. The Pacers’ lead guard followed up his worst outing of the season with his best, delivering a game that Bjorkgren’s players knew meant more for their head coach. It’s the exact response that is another indicator of the All-Star start Brogdon has had this season.
2. Jeremy Lamb Looks Great: If you didn’t know otherwise, you would have no idea that Jeremy Lamb is in his first week back from a very serious knee injury. Simply, Lamb has looked tremendous, and played 33 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back. He poured in 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting in Monday’s win, going 3-of-6 from behind the arc and 5-of-5 from the foul line. Lamb has shot over 50 percent from the floor and over 40 percent from behind the arc in his four games back. He’s scored in double figures off the bench in all four of those games. Watching Lamb operate is another reminder at the ease he brings to the floor at getting a bucket. There’s a smoothness to Lamb in the half court that can take a stalled possession and turn it into a successful one. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s likely only a matter of time before Lamb is re-inserted into the starting lineup (like we saw at the start of last season for Victor Oladipo).
3. Domantas Sabonis Leaves With Left Knee Contusion: The latest in the Pacers injury saga saw Domantas Sabonis exit following 11 minutes on Monday night after banging his knee against Raptors guard Kyle Lowry with 5:19 to go in the second quarter. Sabonis eventually headed to the locker room where an X-ray showed no structural damage, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The report from Woj said Sabonis would have an MRI on Tuesday morning. Sabonis’ streak of 16 straight double-doubles to start this season came to a close on Monday. With Domas out, the Pacers increased the play time for Goga Bitadze and had Jeremy Lamb slide into the starting lineup in the second half. Obviously, this is a big injury to watch for a team already down two starters (Caris LeVert-kidney, T.J. Warren-foot).
Pacers Upcoming Schedule
-@Hornets (Wednesday, 1-27, at 7:00 PM)
-@Hornets (Friday, 1-29, at 7:00 PM)
-76ers (Sunday, 1-31, at 7:00 PM)
-Grizzlies (Tuesday, 2-2, at 7:00 PM)
-Bucks (Tuesday, 2-3, at 7:00 PM)
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