At the Buzzer: R1 G5 — Raptors 102, Pacers 99

Paul George had his best playoff game, willing the Pacers to a Game 5 victory. [Frank McGrath/PS&E]

Paul George had his best playoff game, willing the Pacers to a Game 5 victory. [Frank McGrath/PS&E]

The Indiana Pacers played some of its best basketball of the series through three quarters. The fourth, though? That was the worst fourth quarter in the franchise’s playoff history (ABA & NBA). The Raptors came back from a 13-point deficient to claim Game 5, 102-99.

[Boxscore]

The Raptors lead the best-of-seven series, 3-2.

How it happened: The Pacers came out firing and hitting. Spurs-like ball movement led to 35 first-quarter points with 11 assists on 12 field goals. They closed the first on a 15-2 run, hitting 7-of-10 from deep, for an early 15-point lead. “The passing is brilliant. We have to do it for 48 minutes,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.

With the Pacers’ starters, notably Paul George, on the bench, the Raptors needed just three minutes to wipe away most of that lead. DeMar DeRozan took full advantage of George on the bench by scoring a quick eight points. Over the first 3:31 of the second, they used a 13-1 run to draw to within three … and then George returned and took over. On a 10-2 spurt, he scored seven and the Pacers went into the locker room up 61-52.

George continued to elevate his game, scoring 15 points in the third — including all eight free throws. The Raptors trimmed their deficit to five, but the Pacers finished the period on a 12-4 run to give them a cushion of 13 points, 90-77.

Then, the Raptors outscored the Pacers 25-9 over the final 12 minutes. The Pacers turned it over six times (to the Raptors’ zero), which led to 10 points for the home team. Solomon Hill, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds off the bench, buried a 3-pointer with 15.9 seconds left to make it a one-point game. DeMar DeRozan, who finished with 34 points, then made both free throws.

At the other end, Monta Ellis forced a drive, down two, and the ball went out of bounds off of the Raptors, which gave Indiana one more opportunity. They got it to Paul George, who slid it off to Solomon Hill on the left arc. He made the 3-pointer … but after review, it didn’t count. It was milliseconds too late.

What it means: The Pacers now must win out to advance to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Game 6 is truly a must-win.

[Quotable: Pacers and Raptors after Game 5]

Turning point: The Pacers led 90-75 with 49 seconds left in the third. They then were outscored 23-2 as they managed just two points in the first 9:33 of the fourth quarter.

Star of the game: Paul George. He matched his playoff career-high with 39 points (on 11-of-19 shooting), eight rebounds and eight assists. In the final quarter, he was 1-of-3 for two points.

Streaking: The Pacers are 0-3 this series when held below 100 points. Until the middle of the fourth quarter, the Pacers had led for eight consecutive quarters.

Stat(s) of note: The Pacers’ fourth quarter: 4-for-15, 1-of-6 from outside, six turnovers for 10 points, and just nine points. They are 1-11 when trailing 3-2 in a best-of-seven series.

In the moment: Paul George received his third technical foul of the series. Early into the second half, when diving on the floor for a loose ball, Kyle Lowry landed on him and then clearly locked George’s arm. George obviously didn’t like it and got in the face of Lowry. (His postseason fine total for technical fouls is now up to $7,000.)

What’s next: The series returns to Indianapolis for Game 6 Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Game time and the television broadcast network have not yet been announced. [Click here for the full schedule]

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