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Raptors rout Pacers 116-91 in first meeting since playoffs
By DANIEL GIRARD
TORONTO (AP) After getting trounced in their previous home game, Raptors coach Dwane Casey apologized to the fans and called out his players for a lack of effort.
On Sunday, after his Raptors did the trouncing in a 116-91 victory over the Indiana Pacers, Casey was full of praise.
"Any time you play with the force we did tonight, that's what we've been searching for," Casey said. "From start to finish, I thought it was a solid contribution offensively and defensively.
"That's the way we have to play and continue."
DeMar DeRozan scored 22 points before resting the entire fourth quarter, and all five starters were in double figures as the Raptors cruised to their second straight win since falling 123-102 to Oklahoma City at home on Thursday night.
Serge Ibaka added 16 points, while Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 13 rebounds as the Raptors improved to 41-29.
The Pacers fell to 35-34.
"The physicality of the game tonight, they brought and we didn't respond," said Indiana head coach Nate McMillan. "Defensively, they came out with a lot of energy, a lot of scrap and got stops and were able to get out in transition and pound the boards."
It was the first meeting between the teams since Game 7 of last year's first-round playoff series, which was won by Toronto. They face each other twice more over the next two weeks.
The Raptors took the lead for good midway through the first quarter and were ahead 62-45 after two quarters, their largest halftime lead in more than two months.
Toronto took a 91-73 lead into the final 12 minutes, as rookie center Jakob Poeltl had six points in the third quarter. The Raptors bench outscored their Indiana counterparts 13-7 in the period.
"We didn't win a quarter in this game," McMillan said. "You can't win a game if you can't win a quarter."
Seven Raptors scored in double figures, including rookie center Jakob Poeltl, who finished with a career-high 12 points and added seven rebounds.
The Raptors had 51-33 rebounding edge, including 20-5 in the first quarter.
"They had a lot second-chance opportunities and that was kind of the game," George said. "We've got to come out and establish our physical play so that late in games or throughout a whole game we're able to get away with stuff that other teams are able to get away with."
DeRozan led all scorers in the opening half, shooting 6 for 10 from the field, including converting the only 3-pointer he attempted, on the way to 16 points. The Raptors were 6 for 15 on 3s in the first half while the Pacers hit just 2 of 11 from deep.
Pacers: The Pacers have lost six consecutive regular-season road games in Toronto. ... Indiana came in ranked 8th in the NBA in 3-point percentage at 37 percent. ... The Pacers are 7-15 when scoring fewer than 100 points.
Raptors: Valanciunas had his team-leading 26th double-double of the season. . Toronto dominated on the glass, outrebounding Indiana 51-33. ... The Raptors had 12 3s, while the Pacers had just six.
SUNDAY STREAK SNAPPED
The loss was the Pacers' first on a Sunday this season after going 7-0. It was their only undefeated day of the season coming into the game.
SAME OLD STORY
The Pacers have alternated wins and losses for 13 straight games, a franchise record.
.500 RECORD STREAK CONTINUES
With their 41st win, the Raptors secured at least a .500 record for a franchise-record fourth straight season.
Pacers: Indiana returns home to take on Utah on Monday night, having lost three straight to the Jazz.
Raptors: Toronto hosts Chicago on Tuesday night, looking to end an 11-game losing streak to the Bulls.
Updated March 19, 2017