Maybe it's just the state of these Indiana Pacers that Lance Stephenson can fall short of another triple-double and not get worked up about it. Or that long-injured Danny Granger can score in double figures for the fifth consecutive game and it's not much of a story. Or that no one seems to mind that Paul George is in a shooting slump, scoring only two first-half points and finishing with 11. Or that David West can manage only four points in 32 minutes and not mind. This team is an NBA-leading 28-6, and it looks good at several angles. Indiana coach Frank Vogel called Tuesday night's 86-79 victory over Toronto at Bankers Life Fieldhouse "a good win" in part because of "the great defense" his team played. The Raptors have been playing some of the best basketball in the Eastern Conference -- nine wins in its previous 12 games -- and yet the Pacers held them in check. Their point total was a season low. The perimeter-oriented visitors were held to five fast-break points by a Pacers' defense that regularly retreated to protect the goal. Toronto (16-17) also was limited to four second-chance points and five offensive rebounds. Indiana squandered most of a 17-point lead with Toronto's fourth-quarter surge, but Vogel again showed that he has more than enough pieces to be a title contender. Roy Hibbert led the Pacers with 22 points and eight rebounds, his highest scoring total in a month. Stephenson fell just short of what would have been his fourth triple-double of the season -- he already has a NBA-leading three -- by assembling a 13-point, 10-rebound, eight-assist line. Arguably, Stephenson had nine assists, but a 3-pointer made in the fourth quarter by Granger was waved off because of a foul called away from the ball. Stephenson shook his head.
Pacers beat Raptors earn their third win in a row
Indianapolis Star | Jan 8