At the Buzzer: R1 G4 — Pacers 100, Raptors 83

In the NBA Playoffs that have lacked competitiveness, the first-round series between the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors very well may go the distance. The Pacers led wire-to-wire in a 100-83 Game 4 win Saturday. In front of a nationally televised audience, the Pacers rose to the occasion and put on a showing worthy of your time on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

[Boxscore]

The best-of-seven series is now all even, 2-2.

How it happened: Looking for a spark and more offensive production, Pacers coach Frank Vogel started Myles Turner in place of Lavoy Allen. In an intense environment with cheers for both teams, the Pacers had their best start of the series. They scored the game’s first seven points and had a 28-16 lead after 12 minutes of play as they made 4-of-5 3-pointers and had the advantage on the glass.

The Pacers’ bench unit keyed a big second quarter. They pushed their lead to as many as 25, the largest lead of any team in the series. However, the Raptors responded — as expected. They used a 14-4 spurt to trim their deficit to 15 at intermission.

The Pacers maintained a double-digit lead throughout the entire second half. This battle became a series midway through the fourth quarter when guys had to be separated. Paul George, DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas were all given technical fouls.

Paul George talked prior to game about how he wanted to help his teammates get involved. George Hill and Ian Mahinmi, specifically, were spectacular in the win. Both had 22 points. For Hill, it was his first 20-point game in a month. And for Mahinmi, it was a career-high … regular season or postseason.

[Quotable: Pacers and Raptors after Game 4]

What it means: The Pacers are no longer on life support. Raptors fans will be ready come Game 5 on Tuesday, but the Pacers may have a mental edge and certainly will carry some confidence across the border.

Turning point: The Raptors got to within 12 twice in the fourth quarter, but both times the Pacers answered with a bucket at the rim. The latter time, with 7:11 left in the game, Mahinmi rebounded a miss and sent it to Paul George for the jam.

Star of the game: Ian Mahinmi. Sore back and all and he turned in not only his best performance in the playoffs — but as a pro. Never before had he scored 20 points, until today. He posted his first playoff double-double, finishing with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.

Star of the day: Josh Kaufman. That man can sing. Kaufman, who appeared on NBC’s The Voice and won in the spring of 2014, did a terrific job singing the national anthems of Canada and the United States prior to tip-off.

Streaking: The Pacers are 2-0 in the series when scoring at least 100 points.

[VIDEO: Ty Lawson’s crossover shakes Cory Joseph]

Stat(s) of note: After 11 turnovers in all of Game 3, the Raptors committed 11 turnovers in the first half, leading to 16 points for the Pacers. The Pacers outrebounded the Raptors for the first time in this series, 43-40. They also outscored them in the paint, 50-26.

Headband no more: C.J. Miles, who sported a headband for the final month of the season, ditched it for tonight’s game and scored his first points in two games — including a tip-in to beat the buzzer at the end of the third frame. It wasn’t intentional, though. He was so focused before the game that he forgot to put it on.

In the stands: The Colts’ Andrew Luck, Robert Mathis, T.Y. Hilton, Pat McAfee, Scott Tolzien; NBA players Victor Oladipo (Magic), Bradley Beal (Wizards), and Rajon Rondo (Kings); Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter.

What’s next: The series goes back to Toronto for Game 5 Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre. Game time and the television broadcast network have not yet been announced. [Click here for the full schedule]

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