Raptors square series with Game 2 win over Pacers

Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:18pm EDT
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By Larry Millson

TORONTO (The Sports Xchange) - The Toronto Raptors are best known for their All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.

A major player in the first two games of their first-round series playoff series with the Indiana Pacers, however, has been center Jonas Valanciunas, who has been a work in progress in recent seasons.

Valanciunas led the Raptors with 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds on Monday and the Raptors defeated the Pacers 98-87 to even the series at one win each.

"I was really happy for Jonas," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "He got in foul trouble on Saturday. He gave us what we wanted him to give us. ...but again it was a team effort."

The victory ended a string of seven straight playoff losses by the Raptors dating to the 2014 first round.

Valanciunas scored 12 points and nabbed 19 rebounds before fouling out in Indiana's win in the first game.

"They just made more plays," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Their bench obviously had a strong impact. They dominated the paint and we didn't get enough of an offensive rhythm in the second half, but there were a lot of reasons."

Paul George led the Pacers with 28 points. He scored 33 points to lead the Pacers to the win in the opening game.   Continued...

Apr 18, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) has a shot blocked by Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) and guard Norman Powell (24) in game two of the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Pacers 98-87. Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports