James had 19 points and 10 assists to help the Raptors beat the
Indiana Pacers 99-97 Friday night. He scored 14 of his 19 points in
the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead basket with 1:37 left.
The outburst came a night after James had 28 points and nine
assists in a 108-102 win over Atlanta. The Raptors have won four of
their last six after starting the season 1-15.
James said it was important to beat the Pacers, a perennial
"That's huge for us," he said. "We've got to build from games
like this and understand that what our record is, that's not who we
are. We can continue to grow and gain confidence from games like
The Pacers dropped their fourth straight game, though the
previous three were on the road against some of the league's best
teams -- Cleveland, Dallas and San Antonio. Toronto began the day
with the worst record in the league, but overcame a 16-point
deficit to keep the Pacers in a tailspin.
"A lot of times when you're down and you have an overall record
like we have, it's easy to look up at the score and say 'here we go
again," Toronto guard Jalen Rose said. "We pulled together, we
persevered, and obviously were not going to take is as more than
one game, but it does feel good to get a win on the road."
Stephen Jackson led the Pacers with 23 points while Fred Jones
and Jermaine O'Neal each scored 20 off the bench. O'Neal did not
start because of a sore lower back, and point guard Jamaal Tinsley
missed the game with a sore right elbow.
Indiana led 75-59 late in the third quarter, but Toronto took a
95-93 lead on James' layup with 1:37 left.
James scored again, then Morris Peterson dunked after a steal to
give Toronto a 99-93 lead with 41 seconds remaining. Jackson was
fouled on a 3-point shot and made all three free throws to cut
Toronto's lead to 99-96 with 28.4 seconds left.
James missed a jumper, and Jones rebounded and called timeout
with 2.9 seconds left.
Rose fouled Austin Croshere with 2.5 seconds left. Croshere made
the first free throw to cut Toronto's lead to 99-97, then missed
the second intentionally. The ball went out of bounds off a Toronto
player to give the Pacers one last shot, but Peterson intercepted
Sarunas Jasikevicius' inbounds pass to end the game.
James said his approach was the same throughout the game, but
the results were different in the fourth quarter.
"I was aggressive the whole game," he said. "In the fourth
quarter, things just started dropping and I just continued to stay
aggressive about finding people, but now, it's tougher for them to
defend because my shot's going.
Indiana took a 64-49 lead early in the third, but the Raptors
went on an 8-2 run. After a timeout, Indiana rookie Danny Granger
scored three consecutive baskets, and Jackson's 3-pointer gave the
Pacers a 16-point lead with 2:49 left in the period.
Jackson said it was a game the Pacers should have won.
"It's hard whenever you lose when you know you could have done
more," he said. "We had it won and let it get away."
Indiana coach Rick Carlisle is concerned about the way the
Pacers closed the game. They were outscored 31-20 in the final
quarter and allowed the Raptors to shoot 62 percent in the period.
"We did it for three quarters, but down the stretch, we just
didn't," Carlisle said. "We didn't step up like a good team
Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy was introduced to the
Conseco Fieldhouse crowd during the first quarter and received a
standing ovation. His son, James, died of an apparent suicide in
the Tampa area on Dec. 22. Tony Dungy missed the Colts' game last
Saturday at Seattle while grieving with family. ... Former Purdue
coach Gene Keady, a newly hired assistant for the Raptors, returned
to an Indiana sideline for the first time since he retired at the
end of last season.