TORONTO — The Indiana Pacers have turned into one of the NBA’s premier teams by playing a physical, swarming brand of basketball.
But the way Pacers guard George Hill saw it, his team got beat at its own game by the red-hot Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points, Kyle Lowry had 13 points and a season-high 14 assists and the Raptors extended their season-best winning streak to four games, beating the Pacers 95-82.
“They played better than us tonight,” Hill said. “Normally we come out and have a tremendous third and fourth quarter but tonight, they hit first.
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“We’re normally a team that hits first,” Hill said. “We’re a smashmouth team. They came in and brought the pressure and turned us over more than we’re normally getting turned over. They initiated it.”
Former Husky Terrence Ross scored 18 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 13 points and nine rebounds as the Raptors (15-15) snapped Indiana’s five-game winning streak and improved to .500 after 30 games for the first time since Jan. 6, 2010.
“It’s a great win,” Lowry said. “We’re executing our game plan and we’re locked in.”
The Raptors have won eight of 10 games since Dec. 13, when the majority of the players acquired from Sacramento in the Rudy Gay deal made their Toronto debuts.
“This is a team that’s getting better,” Indiana’s Paul George said of the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors. “They have a lot of confidence and they’re playing like it.”
DeRozan said the Raptors have been working to improve their toughness so they can play the kind of physical style that Indiana has perfected.
“We’re going to go out there and battle with the best of them,” DeRozan said. “We don’t care who is out there in front of us. We understand that they are going to throw a punch and we’re going to throw punches back.”
Roy Hibbert fouled out with 16 points and George had 12 for the Pacers, who recorded a season-worst 23 turnovers.
DENVER — Evan Turner scored 23 points and Thaddeus Young added 17, helping the Philadelphia 76ers beat the slumping Denver Nuggets 114-102.
The Sixers had seven different players score in double figures en route to their second straight win away from home. Former Husky Spencer Hawes had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Sixers.
Philadelphia halted a 13-game road losing streak in Los Angeles against the Lakers over the weekend.
J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who dropped their eighth game in a row. It’s the team’s longest skid since losing the final eight games of the 2002-03 season.
Denver also has lost some of its Mile High mystique under first-year coach Brian Shaw, losing a fifth straight at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets were a franchise-best 38-3 at home last season.
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