Canada’s Nembhard Leads Pacers Over Raptors
TORONTO – Although Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet each had a brace, the Toronto Raptors came out even before a conference opponent.
Siakam led all scorers with 31 points and 10 more bounces when the drone Raptors fell to the Indiana Pacers 118-114 on Wednesday. VanVleet scored 28 points and made 11 assists but remained critical of Toronto’s performance.
“Overall, low energy, low completion, lack of execution, not really trying to accomplish what we were trying to accomplish,” VanVleet said when looking at the box score. Final. “We were really overwhelmed if you look at the game, look at the stats, in almost every aspect.”
Jakob Poeltl had 23 points and eight rebounds as the Raptors (35-38) saw their seven-game home win streak cut short.
Toronto’s squad was exhausted as forwards Precious Achiuwa (right hamstring strain), Scottie Barnes (left wrist), Joe Wieskamp (right hamstring strain) and defender Gary Trent Jr. (hard right elbow) are disqualified.
“Obviously, we lost to them today but that’s no excuse, we could have won this game,” said Chris Boucher, who had 11 points and six rebounds from the bench. , said. “There were a few fouls that cost us, I think there were a few fouls that went in the opposite direction that didn’t help us.”
Andrew Nembhard of Aurora, Ont., had a double for Indiana (33-40) with 25 points and 10 assists. Myles Turner has 16 points and seven boards.
It was an important win for the Pacers, who beat the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern standings. After Chicago’s 116-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers the following Wednesday, Indiana closed 1 1/2 games against the Bulls to claim the final play-in spot of the conference.
The Raptors are still ninth in the East, half a game over Chicago and two games ahead of the Pacers.
“It was one of them,” VanVleet said of the loss. “We have to move on, have a short-term memory and focus on what is in front of us.”
Oshae Brissett of Mississauga, Ont., Bennedict Mathurin of Montreal and Nembhard all set off for Indiana. This was the first time since those began being officially tracked in 1970–71 that three Canadian-born players started for a single team in an NBA game.
“For that to happen in Toronto, that’s great,” said Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle. “All three of them played well. Nembhard had a great game, Mathurin was excellent too.
“I think Brissett did what he did. He gave us energy, recovered, he scored the first 5 points of the game. That’s great.”
OG Anunoby made the remaining two free throws 9:43 to lead Toronto 87-86. Boucher continued that with a contested jump and free throw to give the Raptors a four-point advantage.
Buddy Hield sinks in and Jordan Nwora makes two free throws to equalize for Indiana.
After the two teams exchanged points for a few minutes, the Pacers’ short 6-2 score with about six minutes left helped the visitors start the equalizer.
Turner made a deflection and sank the next free throw to give Indiana a 107-102 lead and force the Raptors to time out with 3:28 remaining.
Siakam made a free throw and a jump from under the belt to cut the score to two. Mathurin followed with two free throws of his own and VanVleet responded with a pair.
“Almost just playing hard and playing the right way,” Mathurin said of his fourth-half seven points. “I feel like that’s the main thing I have to do and try to finish the game.
“Pulling the rims opened up a lot of things for me. I was able to get to the line and make some good decisions.”
To the 19,800 fans at Scotiabank Arena chanting “DE-FENCE,” Turner made the jump. At the other end of the ring, Poeltl missed a couple of free throws and then neither team was able to score in their later possession, allowing the Pacers to kill the clock.
Nembhard sank three pointers to extend Indiana’s lead to seven with the game remaining 32.5 seconds. After the Raptors’ wait, Siakam made two free throws, 5 points ahead of Toronto with a score of 25.8 on the clock.
TJ McConnell responded to Indiana with a pair of free throws and Boucher sank two. McConnell, racing around the field to pass the time, was fouled with 3.1 seconds left. He made both shots from the charity strip before Boucher hit three points at timeout.
NEXT – Toronto hosts the Detroit Pistons on Friday.
The Pacers continue their four-game journey with a stop in Boston on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 22, 2023.
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