(SportsNetwork.com) - Following a late-game loss to the reigning NBA champs, the Toronto Raptors will look to sustain their recent high-level play as they travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers.
Due to weather-related flight delays, the Raptors were forced to wait until Tuesday morning to leave Miami, making their matchup with the Eastern Conference's top team that much more formidable.
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The Raptors' only two losses in their last nine came in San Antonio and in
Miami, last season's two combatants in the NBA Finals.
Against the Heat on Sunday, Toronto fell 102-97. The Raps had a chance late,
but didn't convert an easy layup, or a tough 3-pointer. Miami made its free
throws and held for a home win.
The loss snapped Toronto's season-long five-game winning streak.
DeMar DeRozan had 26 points and seven assists for the Raptors. Kyle Lowry went
for 14 with nine helpers while Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson totaled 17
points apiece. Patrick Patterson notched 11 off the bench.
"They turned up the pressure. They made us put it on the floor. They put us on
the free-throw line but we didn't convert. We've got to make free throws
against a team like this," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey
The Raptors went 12-for-21 from the foul line and only scored 13 points in
the fourth quarter.
If not for the Raptors, the Pacers would be knee-deep in an eight-game winning
streak. Instead, that run stands at just two games as the Pacers fell to the
Raptors in Toronto, 95-82, on New Year's Day.
Since, the Pacers bested the New Orleans Pelicans at home, then knocked off
the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Sunday, 82-78.
The Pacers, who've gone nine straight without giving up 100 points, were led
by Paul George and his 16 points and six assists. Roy Hibbert scored 15 points
with six rebounds, while David West added 11 points and seven boards in the
Lance Stephenson and Danny Granger scored 10 points apiece for Indiana, which
has won seven of its last eight.
"This is a good win for our guys," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "Games like
that are never as easy as they should be when you have a bunch of guys out or
a bunch of key guys out. They are dangerous games. We didn't play a great
game, but good enough to get a win."
Kyrie Irving and Jarrett Jack were out for the Cavs.
The Pacers travel to Atlanta on Wednesday, then play their next four at home.
Indiana has won six of its last nine in this series and is 8-2 in its last
10 at home versus Toronto.