Canada's Nembhard posts double-double as Pacers top Raptors 118-114
Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard (2) drives between Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25), guard Malachi Flynn (22) and centre Jakob Poeltl (19) during second half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, March 22, 2023 10:54PM EDT
TORONTO - Pascal Siakam led all scorers with 31 points but the Toronto Raptors still fell to the Indiana Pacers 118-114 on Wednesday.
Siakam had a double-double with 10 rebounds and added seven assists as Toronto (35-38) saw its seven-game home winning streak snapped.
Fred VanVleet scored 28 and had 11 assists for the Raptors and Jakob Poeltl had 23 points and eight rebounds.
Andrew Nembhard of nearby Aurora, Ont., had a double-double for Indiana (33-40) with 25 points and 10 assists.
It was a critical win for the Pacers, who started the night 2 1/2 games back of the Chicago Bulls for the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Raptors remain ninth, half a game up on Chicago.
Oshae Brissett of Mississauga, Ont., Montreal's Bennedict Mathurin and Nembhard all started for the Pacers. It was the first time since starters were officially tracked in 1970-71 that three Canadian-born players started for a single team in an NBA game.
“Pretty cool thing for these guys to come back (to Canada),” said Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle before the game. “It also speaks to what's happening in Canada in terms of the development of very young talent. Pretty amazing.”
Siakam sank a baby hook with 1.4 seconds left in the half to cut Indiana's lead to 58-52. It was the closest Toronto had been since late in the first quarter as the Pacers led by as much as 13 points in the second.
A steal by Raptors guard Malachi Flynn led to a Siakam layup, cutting Indiana's lead to five with 5:39 left in the third quarter. After a Pacers timeout, VanVleet scored a driving layup and a Poeltl block led to a jumper for two points by Siakam.
On the next Toronto possession, Flynn brought the sold-out Scotiabank Arena crowd of 19,800 to its feet when he drilled a three-pointer with 4:09 left in the third for the Raptors' first lead since the opening quarter.
The Pacers pushed back, though, with a Nembhard field goal giving them an 83-78 lead headed into the final quarter. It was his 20th point of the night.
O.G. Anunoby made two free throws with 9:43 left in the fourth to give Toronto an 87-86 lead. Montreal's Chris Boucher followed that up with a contested jumper and a made free throw for a four-point Raptors' lead.
Buddy Hield sank a field goal and Jordan Nwora made two free throws to tie it back up for Indiana.
After the two teams swapped points for several minutes, a brief 6-2 Pacers run with about six minutes left to play helped the visitors start to pull away.
Myles Turner made a driving layup and sank the ensuing free throw to stake Indiana to a 107-102 lead and force a Raptors timeout with 3:28 left on the clock.
Siakam hit a free throw and then a jumper from under the rim to cut that lead to two. Mathurin followed that with two free throws of his own and VanVleet answered with a pair.
With the crowd chanting “DE-FENCE,” Turner drained a jump shot. At the other end of the floor, Poeltl missed a pair of free throws and then neither team could score on their following possessions, allowing the Pacers to kill the clock.
Nembhard sank a 30-foot three-pointer to extend Indiana's lead to seven with 32.5 seconds left to play. After a Raptors timeout, Siakam hit two free throws, leaving Toronto five points behind with 25.8 seconds to go.
T.J. McConnell replied for the Pacers with a pair of free throws, with Boucher sinking two of his own. McConnell, racing around the court to kill the clock, was fouled with 3.1 seconds left.
He made both shots from the charity stripe before Boucher made a three-pointer for the game's final score.
INJURY BUG - Raptors forwards Precious Achiuwa (right hamstring tightness), Scottie Barnes (left wrist soreness), Joe Wieskamp (right hamstring strain) and guard Gary Trent Jr (right elbow stiffness) were all listed as out before Wednesday's game.
UP NEXT - Toronto hosts the Detroit Pistons on Friday.
The Pacers continue their four-game road trip with a stop in Boston on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2023.