At the Buzzer: R1 G3 — Raptors 101, Pacers 85

Every fan in attendance received a gold Pacers t-shirt.

Every fan in attendance received a gold Pacers t-shirt.

The Toronto Raptors came to play Thursday in Game 3 of their first-round series against the Pacers. They jumped on the Pacers early with smothering defense that had the Pacers being careless with the ball and unable get off comfortable looks.

In the Raptors’ 101-85 win, they led by as many 23 points and never trailed after the 8:21 mark of the first quarter. After losing Game 1, the Raptors have responded in an impression fashion. They now lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1.

[Boxscore]

“We didn’t do our job,” Paul George said afterwards. “This sucks. We didn’t take care of business on our home court.”

How it happened: The Raptors, typically a team that gets off to poor starts, looked like the No. 2 seed as they outscored the Pacers in the opening frame for the third straight game. The Raptors’ lead ballooned to 23 points as they brought the energy and intensity on both ends. Fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse got antsy and annoyed early on, both with their team’s play and the officiating.

In the first half, one of their worst on the year, the Pacers connected on just 33 percent of their shots and turned it over 12 times — the same number of made field goals, by the way — leading to 17 points for the visiting team. The Pacers went into the locker room frustrated, down 53-36. Valanciunas, who picked up two early fouls, wasn’t even a factor (2 points, 2 rebounds) through two quarters.

Rookie Myles Turner started the second half in place of Lavoy Allen and brought energy and life to the team in the third. That’s where he scored seven of his 17 points and he rejected two shots. Holding the Raptors to 26 percent shooting in the quarter, the Pacers sliced their deficit to 12.

The Raptors maintained their distance and earned their second consecutive victory.

Paul George scored a game-high 25 points, but he was just 6-of-19 from the field and 1-of-8 from downtown. Meantime, four Raptors reached double figures including the backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozaon — each finishing with 21.

[Paul George on Game 3 loss: ‘We didn’t do our job‘]

Rookie Myles Turner had 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks — and picked up his first technical foul. [Frank McGrath/PS&E]

Rookie Myles Turner had 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks — and picked up his first technical foul. [Frank McGrath/PS&E]

What it means: The Pacers will be desperate for a win back here on Saturday in an afternoon contest that doesn’t allow much rest for either team. They cannot afford to go down 3-1 in the series with the Raptors only needing one more win to put it away. Toronto is excellent at home, 32-9 during the regular season.

Turning point: Indiana cut its deficit to 12 entering the fourth, 71-59, but it was all for nothing. Toronto scored eight straight in less than a minute and 12 of the first 16 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers from Kyle Lowry and Patrick Patterson, in the final stanza to push its lead to 20. Fans began to clear out with 5:26 left and the Pacers in a 19-point hole.

Star of the game: Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll, who missed most of the regular season due to a knee injury, scored 17 points, hit three triples, and grabbed five rebounds. He scored eight points total in the first two meetings.

Streaking: The Raptors have won two straight on the Pacers’ floor.

Stat(s) of note: The Pacers managed just 36 points in the first half, their lowest scoring first-half of the season.

Injuries of concern: Ian Mahinmi (sore lower back) did not look himself. He battled, to his credit, but the back was clearly bothering him.

It cost ’em: Three Pacers earned technical fouls. Paul George (his 8th of the season), Rodney Stuckey (3rd), and Myles Turner (first of his career). Stuckey and Turner will be set back $2,000 while George takes a $3,000 hit.

In the stands: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was in town for the second time in a matter of weeks, sitting in row four across from the benches.

[Commissioner Adam Silver on Indy hosting All-Star Weekend: ‘The ball is in their court‘]

What’s next: The series continues in Indianapolis Saturday afternoon for Game 4. Tip-off is slated for 3:00 p.m. ET, and it’ll air nationally on TNT. [Click here for the full schedule]

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