Raptors pull away to beat Pacers
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Terrence Ross scored 24 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 22 and the Toronto Raptors pulled away for a 102-94 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night despite playing without two starters.
DeMar DeRozan chipped in 20 points and nine assists and Valanciunas had nine rebounds for the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors, who have won five of their last six.
They played without point guard Kyle Lowry, who missed his second straight game with a bruised left kneecap. Forward Amir Johnson was also out with a sore ankle that forced him to leave Wednesday's win over Houston after just three minutes.
"We have to prepare like they're not going to be there," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "We have to prepare to make plans with the people that are healthy and are going to be available. That's the NBA. ...
"We've been lucky not to have major injuries, knock on wood."
Paul George had 26 points and David West scored 21, but Indiana's struggles continued.
The Pacers have lost six of their last eight games, gaining no momentum from Wednesday's home win over Detroit.
Their only other win in their current slide was an 84-83 victory over Miami at home on March 26, which clinched the Central Division title for the Pacers and gave them a three-game lead over the Heat in the Eastern Conference that has since evaporated.
The Raptors held Indiana to 19 points in the fourth quarter -- none after the 4:24 mark -- on 36.4 percent shooting.
"You gotta give credit to the Raptors," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "They played hard. They only had three starters and they stepped up. DeMar, Jonas, Ross played out of their minds.
"It shows why they've been one of the best home teams in the NBA in the second half of the season."
Valanciunas scored four straight points to give the Raptors the lead for good, rattling home a jumper from the foul line to make it 98-94 with two minutes left.
Toronto missed two straight shots, but after Indiana's Lance Stephenson failed to get an end-to-end layup to drop, Ross hit two free throws with 29.2 seconds remaining and George missed a 3-point try at the other end.
The Pacers have lost six in a row on the road. The Raptors, on an uptick, have six regular-season games left before making their first playoff appearance since 2008.
John Salmons and George drew matching technical fouls after an altercation with 1:45 left in the third quarter. Salmons shoved George near the Indiana bench during an inbounds pass and the players and their teammates came together.
It came during a personal 6-0 run by George that tied the game for Indiana going into the fourth quarter.
After 10 lead changes and three ties, the Pacers had a 28-27 edge going into the second quarter. A 13-3 run late in the half, led by Valanciunas's four points, gave the Raptors an eight-point lead and they were up 54-46 at the break.
Roy Hibbert had 12 points for Indiana ... Toronto out-shot Indiana 47.6 percent to 42.3 percent ... The Pacers are home against Atlanta on Sunday ... The Raptors go on the road to play Milwaukee on Saturday.
04/04 22:32:49 ET