Toronto Raptors Second Half Comeback Leads to 106-99 Win Over Pacers


Despite a slow and ugly start that saw the Toronto Raptors trail by as many as 16 points, the team came together in the second half to beat the Indiana Pacers 106-99.

For the first time since the disastrous playoff appearance of last season, the Toronto Raptors took to the court for a meaningful game. The preseason was fine and dandy, but these 82 games are what count.

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Well, in true Raptors fashion the team got off to a slow start. Slow is probably describing it nicely, though, since the defence looked out of sorts, the offence was stagnant and full of dead sets that lacked ball movement, and Dwane Casey struggled to adjust to the Pacers pace of play.

To be blunt, they looked like the Raptors of old.

To top it all off, swingman DeMarre Carroll hit the deck with what looked to be a pretty serious injury. So between an ugly start that saw the Raptors trail by as much as 16 points in the first half, and Carroll’s injury, you could see why Raptors’ fans were worried early on.

The lone bright spot of the first half for Toronto was big man Jonas Valanciunas. JV scored 12 points, shooting 6-for-8 from the field, while grabbing nine rebounds in the first half. Aside from JV, the Raptors struggled during the first 24 minutes of basketball.

The second half was a completely different story, though. Familiar faces Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan led the charge for Raptors. Much like Lowry’s style of play, the Raptors comeback was fast, furious, and full of aggression.

Oct 28, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey talks with Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) and Toronto Raptors guard Cory Joseph (6) and Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) during the fourth quarter in a game against the Indiana Pacers at the Air Canada Centre. The Toronto Raptors won 106-99. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

While the team did outscore the Pacers by 15 (69-54) in the second half, perhaps the most underrated performance came from Carroll. After returning from an elbow contusion in the first quarter, his suffocating defence held Paul George in-check all night, as PG shot 4-for-17 from the field. Carroll was certainly a game-changer for the Raptors.

Although his shot selection, questionable passing vision, and six misses from the charity stripe will drive Raptors’ fans insane, DeRozan still managed to help Toronto win. A tough, contested shot, may have highlighted DeRozan’s night, but for the most part, there is still a lot he needs to improve on.

Aside from Carroll’s defence, Lowry’s late heroics, and DeRozan, well, being DeRozan, Valanciunas put together one heck of a night. JV finished the game with 21 points, 15 rebounds and one block in 32 minutes of play. He even saw minutes late in the fourth quarter, which actually paid dividends as he came up with the rebound that led to DeRozan’s late bucket.

If you really wanted too, you could nitpick a few things about his defence. But overall, JV put together an excellent opening night performance that I’m sure many would say exceeded expectations. Could this be the beginning of a breakout for Valanciunas?

We’ll have to wait and see, but after one game, JV and the Raptors are 1-0, which is what matters most.

Other Takeaways:

Terrence Ross had a rough first game. He managed to pick up three fouls in two minutes during the first half and only saw eight minutes of burn. He did help set up a couple buckets in the fourth quarter, so his night wasn’t a total train wreck.

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  • – The Raptors struggled in transition when Luis Scola and JV were on the floor. If Scola is going to remain a starter, Casey will have to find a way to not only adjust in transition, but also get him more involved in the offence.

    – Kyle Lowry demolished George Hill in the second half. Although he lost weight over the offseason, Lowry was the same old Lowry. He pushed the pace, bullied his way to the cup, and literally carried the Raptors during points of the second half.

    – Self explanatory, but 20 turnovers hurt. Bottom line, the Raptors won’t win a lot of games with 20 turnovers.

    Bismack Biyombo is going to be a lot of fun to watch this season. He literally challenges every shot within 10 feet of the rim. Here’s to hoping his offensive game grows a bit.

    – When the Raptors move the ball on offence, they have success. Plain and simple. As much as DeRozan likes to dribble and try to create his own shot, it kills the offence. There will be sets where they can iso DeRozan, but overall, the offence is much better when they move the ball.

    What did you think of the Raptors 106-99 victory? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

    Next: Raptors Endure a Scary Moment with DeMarre Carroll

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