The Indiana Pacers could do very little to slow down Chris Bosh(notes) and the high-powered Toronto Raptors’ offense over the weekend. They don’t have much time to figure out a new defensive strategy.
Bosh looks to lead the surging Raptors to a sixth straight victory Tuesday night at Indiana in the finale of a home-and-home series.
On Sunday night at the Air Canada Centre, Bosh had 26 points, 15 rebounds and a season-high seven assists to lead Toronto (26-22) to a 117-102 win over the Pacers (16-32). The Raptors shot a season-best 60.2 percent, and seven Toronto players had at least 12 points.
“We did not defend at a level that would allow us to beat these guys,” Indiana coach Jim O’Brien said. “Giving up 60 percent is not going to get it done.
“Bosh was just too much for us,” O’Brien added. “He played like he normally plays. He’s a great basketball player.”
Danny Granger(notes) had the difficult task of guarding Bosh, and although he’s had previous success against him, the Toronto forward proved to be too much. The 6-foot-10 Bosh, named to his fifth All-Star Game last week, made 12 of 21 shots and is averaging 25.7 points and 16.0 rebounds in the last three games.
“He’s a tough guard,” said Granger, who shot 3 for 13 and matched a season low with eight points - 14.4 lower than his team-best average. “I mean, he’s an All-Star. I’ve played well against him in the past but, once I got into foul trouble, there’s not much I can do.”
While the Pacers need to do a better job of containing Bosh, he isn’t the only player on Toronto’s roster they have to worry about.
Andrea Bargnani(notes) scored 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting Sunday, Jarrett Jack(notes) had 16 while going 6 of 8 from the floor and Antoine Wright(notes) added 15. Sonny Weems(notes) scored a career-high 13 points in his third straight start for injured rookie DeMar DeRozan(notes) (sprained right ankle).
The Raptors could be without Hedo Turkoglu(notes) in this contest, but they played virtually the entire game Sunday without him and had little trouble. Turkoglu was knocked out in the first minute after taking an elbow in the face from Mike Dunleavy. He suffered a fractured orbital bone beneath his right eye, and might play with a protective mask.
This potent Toronto offense has scored at least 100 points in a franchise-record 11 consecutive games, averaging 107.2 points. None of this bodes well for Indiana, which allows an average of 104.4 points and is 6-27 when allowing opponents to reach the century mark.
Behind this dynamic offense, the Raptors have won five straight and 15 of 20 to pull within five games of Atlantic Division-leading Boston. Toronto, which hasn’t won the division since 2007, was 11 games out of first on Dec. 17.
“We look at the standings every day,” Jack said. “We want to create some separation from the teams behind us and gain some ground on the teams in front of us.”
As well as the Raptors have been playing for the past 6 1/2 weeks, they slipped up in their last trip to Indiana.
The Pacers overcame a 23-point, second-quarter deficit to beat Toronto 105-101 on Jan. 11 at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Raptors have lost three straight in Indianapolis and are 7-20 all-time there.