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Pacers open road-heavy start with 90-88 win over Raptors

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- The Indiana Pacers open the season with six of their first eight games on the road.

They looked after the first one Wednesday, defeating the Toronto Raptors 90-88 in the season-opener on a shot with 2.1 seconds to play by George Hill before an announced crowd of 19,800 at Air Canada Centre.

"We have to be able to win on the road," said David West who scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter as the Pacers overcame an eight-point disadvantage after three quarters. "I thought we came out with the right attitude, with the right mind set. We were aggressive and we just forced them to take some shots over us."

Hill, who has been listed as day-to-day with a hip pointer, said the Pacers know how to come back in games.

"We've been there before, even when we were down during the time outs you hear players yelling we're going to win this game, we've been there before, let's grind it out."

Hill said the winning basket on a five-foot driving hook shot was redemption for missing a three-pointer with 23 seconds left.

"It's just something I was kind of upset with myself for missing the corner three to put us up three at the time," said Hill, who has been fighting pain for three weeks. "Since I've been in the NBA I've kind of taken that shot under my wing. And that's my go-to shot. I had to redeem myself, the opportunity was there for me to be in the paint and be aggressive and I took that. Just like my teammates said I'm not scared to take shots like that."

Hill had eight points on the game.

Paul George scored 14 and had 15 rebounds while Roy Hibbert also scored 14 points.

The Raptors got 21 points from Kyle Lowry who also had eight assists and seven rebounds. Andrea Bargnani scored 16 points, Jose Calderon scored 15 and Jonas Valanciunas added 12 points.

"We got stagnant a little bit," Lowry said. "We got a little bit fatigued. We missed some open shots we normally would make."

The Raptors took an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter but the Pacers had cut it to three on a layup by Lance Stephenson with 9:33 to go.

But with Calderon hitting two three-pointers in about a minute and half with Bargnani and West scoring in between, the Raptors led 84-76 with 5:58 to play.

The Pacers came back and, when Hill nailed a three-pointer and West hit a 16-foot turnaround bank shot with 2:37 to play, Toronto's lead was 86-85.

Lowry got it back up to a three-point lead with 2:15 to go when he hit on a pair of free throws. But West made a 15-footer to cut the lead to one again. Hill made one of two foul shots to tie the game 88-88 with 59 seconds to play.

DeMar DeRozan missed a layup with 44.8 seconds left.

After Hill missed his three-pointer Indiana was awarded the ball on a video review by the officials when the ball went out of bounds with 22.1 seconds left.

"I couldn't tell who it was off," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "It was one of those 50-50 balls. They watched the tape and that's why there's instant replay."

Hill worked the ball in to sink the driving shot. Bargnani missed a chance to tie at the final buzzer.

"I like what I see," Raptors coach Dwayne Casey said. "There is a lot of good stuff going on. There were a lot positives. This is one of the better teams in the East. That is a measuring stick for us."

The Raptors opened up a five-point lead in the first four minutes of the second half with DeRozan, who was held to four points in the first half, scoring their first four points. Lowry added a layup after a fast break to put Toronto into a 58-53 lead.

Toronto went up by seven on a pair of free throws by Bargnani and were up by nine on a 12-foot jumper by Valanciunas. A 22-foot jumper by DeRozan made it 64-53 before David West ended the Pacers drought to make the score 64-55.

The Pacers crept to within four at 67-63 near the end of the third quarter. But Ed Davis scored the final four points of the quarter on a dunk and a turnaround hook to create the 71-63 margin after three quarters. Davis also blocked a shot by D.J. Augustin with 4.9 seconds left in the third.

NOTES: The teams were tied 48-48 at halftime. ... Bargnani started the game for the Raptors despite battling the flu recently. ... The Raptors used their 18th different opening day lineup for their 18th season in the NBA. ... The Pacers' Danny Granger was out with a sore left knee. ... Indiana plays next in Charlotte on Friday. The Raptors play their next game Saturday in Brooklyn.
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