DeRozan's 40 carry Raptors past Pacers

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[April 01, 2017]  TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan understands the importance of entering the postseason with momentum. The Raptors guard led the way Friday night with a game-high 40 points as Toronto defeated the Indiana Pacers 111-100 at Air Canada Centre.

For the Raptors, the win is their seventh in eight games and third over the Pacers this season.

"You've got that confidence, you've got that swagger, you feel it internally -- you just feel good," DeRozan said of the team's momentum. "You go out there on the court and it's something we feel working its way up these last 6-7 games."

The Raptors guard added nine rebounds and four assists. For the 30th time this season, DeRozan registered at least 30 points in a game, tying Vince Carter's Raptors record (2000-01).

The win keeps the Raptors (46-30) in the hunt for a fourth consecutive Atlantic Division banner -- Toronto remains three games back of the Boston Celtics, who also won on Friday night.

Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and 17 rebounds and Serge Ibaka finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors.

"I thought JV did an excellent job," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "That's the second game in a row where he played with a lot of force, purpose in the paint, moving bodies around, screening and rolling, catching and finishing -- he did an excellent job."

The Pacers (37-39) have lost five of six as they cling to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Indiana remains a half game up on the ninth place Chicago Bulls.

Paul George led the Pacers with 28 points and nine rebounds. Jeff Teague chipped in with 19 points and five assists. C.J. Miles added 15 points off the bench.

"They got after it and that's where we lack going into the second half without that energy," said George. "We did a good job in the fourth playing from behind and trying to catch up. We had moments where we're flat in that third quarter, definitely we came out flat."

DeRozan scored nine points in the first three minutes of the third quarter, including two 3s, as the Raptors opened an early seven-point lead. The three-time All-Star finished with 16 points and four rebounds in the quarter as Toronto opened an 80-68 lead heading to the fourth.

For a second consecutive game, Valanciunas went off in the third quarter, registering a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. The 13 rebounds are a Raptors franchise record for rebounds in a quarter.

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Pacers center Myles Turner (33) and forward Thaddeus Young (21) defend against Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Indiana 111-100. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

"Second half, the level of play, you expect to go up and teams have done that and we haven't responded quick enough or long enough in these games and you've got to do that," said Pacers coach Nate MacMillan. "You just can't give Toronto 16 rebounds and 20 second-chance points."

George paced Indiana with 14 points and four rebounds in the first half as the Pacers led 48-46 at the break.

DeRozan had a game-high 16 points for the Raptors at the break and Wright added eight points off the bench as Toronto shot just 37 percent from the field.

"Nothing DeMar does surprises me," said Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll, who finished with 12 points and four assists in the win. "He's a heck of a scorer, he's been doing it all season. It doesn't surprise me what he does."

After falling behind 9-2 after 2:30, Toronto rallied to lead 28-25 after one quarter. DeRozan led the Raptors with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. George, Teague and Thaddeus Young all had six points each for the Pacers.

NOTES: G Lance Stephenson, who signed with Indiana on Thursday, is expected to join the team Sunday for a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. ... Toronto recalled F Bruno Caboclo, F Pascal Siakam and G Fred VanVleet from the D-League Raptors 905. ... Indiana F Georges Niang was assigned to the D-League's Fort Wayne Mad Ants. ... The Raptors and Pacers meet for a fourth and final time on April 4 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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