TORONTO - Pascal Siakam had 23 points to lead the Indiana Pacers past the Raptors 127-125 on Wednesday in his return to Toronto.

Siakam also had seven assists and five rebounds for Indiana (31-25) since he was traded from the Raptors on Jan. 17.

Siakam spent the first eight years of his professional career in Toronto and was a key part of its 2019 championship team.

Tyrese Haliburton and Isaiah Jackson each had a double-double for the Pacers. Haliburton scored 21 points and added 12 assists, with Jackson adding 15 points with 11 boards.

Andrew Nembhard of Aurora, Ont., had 14 points, five assists and three rebounds.

Scottie Barnes had a double-double with 29 points and 12 rebounds for Toronto (19-36). RJ Barrett of Mississauga, Ont., had 23 points and nine boards.

Every time Siakam appeared on Scotiabank Arena's video monitors during the singing of the national anthems the sold-out crowd of 19,800 cheered. He was also the last player announced during the Pacers' team introductions, with a lengthy video tribute playing to officially welcome him to the court.

Siakam was standing near centre court when the lights came back on, putting his hand to his heart and then extending his arms to give thanks to the crowd.

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said before the game that he knew the ceremony would be emotional for Siakam.

“These types of situations are memorable and we've got to help try to help them get through it,” said Carlisle. “There's a lot of love that will come his way with whatever they're doing pre-game and then we'll try to get him ready to play.”

Siakam went 0 for 4 on field-goal attempts to start the game, so Carlisle sat him after five minutes of playing. Toronto built an 11-point lead but Indiana reeled them back in with a Siakam jump shot cutting the Raptors' lead to 35-31 after one quarter.

Bruce Brown had two thunderous dunks in the second quarter as Toronto maintained its lead. Doug McDermott hit a 23-foot three for the Pacers to cut the Raptors' lead to 71-65 heading into intermission.

Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith took a hard fall on a dunk attempt and had to be helped off the court and to the locker room by team staff just 54 seconds into the third quarter.

His injury didn't seem to faze Indiana, however, as they put together a 9-2 run for their first lead of the game. Siakam scored seven of those points, with his nine-foot jumper with 9:24 left in the period putting the Pacers ahead for the first time all night.

After exchanging the lead for several minutes, Toronto pulled back ahead on a 10-0 run, with rookie Gradey Dick contributing five points to the rally.

Indiana forward Obi Toppin drove to the basket and drew the and-1 for three points, then got the alley-oop from T.J. McConnell on the next possession for an easy layup to make it 103-101 Raptors going into the final quarter.

The two teams stayed neck-and-neck through the fourth until Haliburton hit a 27-foot three-pointer on a Siakam assist for a three-point lead. Although Immanuel Quickley replied with a jump shot for Toronto, Siakam came right back with a 12-foot shot and then sank one of his two free throws to make it 124-121.

Both teams struggled to find their rhythm after that, killing 90 seconds of the clock without scoring with 1:12 left to play.

Barnes hit a 22-foot pull-up jumper with one minute to play, flexing as he stomped back to centre as fans roared. He then blocked Jackson's attempt at a dunk, but missed his shot on the ensuing possession.

Siakam sank an 11-foot floater with 25.1 seconds left to play to restore Indiana's three-point lead.

Poeltl was fouled on the next Raptors possession and made both of his free throws to cut the Pacers' lead to one. Jackson was quickly fouled as Indiana got the ball over half, and he made only one of his two free throws with 9.6 seconds left on the clock.

Toronto called a timeout to make the most of the final possession of the game but Barrett missed his shot in the dying seconds of the game to seal Indiana's win.

BARNES ALL-STAR - Barnes was presented with an all-star ball by Raptors general manager Bobby Webster ahead of tipoff. Barnes will make his first-ever all-star appearance this week in Indiana.

UP NEXT - The Raptors have an eight-day break because of the NBA All-Star Game before hosting the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 22.

Indiana will host the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 22.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2024.