Man that was close. After leading for most of the game and 10 points with 1:43 left in the game, the Raptors went nuts from downtown, hitting four 3-pointers, including three in the last 27 seconds. Fortunately, the Pacers kept their composure and George Hill and Paul George finished them off. Final score, 103-98.
The most noteworthy thing to take from this game is that Darren Collison sat out for the first time this season from a groin injury. Starting in his place, George Hill led the team with 18 points (equal team high with Granger), 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal in 36 minutes. Granted, this is just one game, but I’m sure it will have fans grumbling about how Hill ought to start over Collison, who hasn’t been awful but hasn’t been great either.
I’m not so sure though. I’d like to see Vogel test the combinations a little more. Hill is known to be a little erratic himself sometimes, especially when his shot isn’t falling. Don’t forget, he had zero points against the Celtics last game and he’s had a few bagels over the last few weeks. And let’s face it, Collison is still a better passer, even though he doesn’t necessarily show it on a game-by-game basis.
Other positives — Leandro Barbosa’s return to Toronto saw him net 14 points on 5-9 shooting to lead the bench, including a few big buckets in the fourth quarter. Amundson continues to do his best Jeff Foster impersonation with 6 points, 5 boards (2 offensive), 2 steals and a block in 15 minutes. Brandon Rush is doing in Golden State what he has always done since his rookie year (ie, 9 points and a few rebounds) but I’m glad not many people are regretting the trade, especially since the Pacers have Hill and Barbosa, both significant upgrades, especially in the mental department.