Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/30

Game 1: Friday, December 30th
Game 2: Sunday, March 12th
Game 3: Wednesday, April 5th
Game 4: Monday, April 17th

Raptors 99

(8-22, 6-10 away)

Pacers 97

(15-12, 9-4 home)

    Coverage: FSMW

    7:00 PM ET, December 30, 2005

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    TOR 22 23 23 3199
    IND 31 24 22 2097

    Top Performers

    Toronto: C. Villanueva 25 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Indiana: F. Jones 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    James sparks rally in fourth as Raptors top Pacers

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Mike James is finding his groove at point guard, and it's starting to show for the Toronto Raptors.

    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 playoff team.

    "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 this."

    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."

    Charlie Villanueva had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Chris Bosh added 22 points and 12 boards for the Raptors.

    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 should."

    Game notes

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 99 97
    FGM-FGA 38-80 (.475) 34-80 (.425)
    3PM-3PA 4-16 (.250) 6-21 (.286)
    FTM-FTA 19-27 (.704) 23-30 (.767)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-44 14-43
    Assists 17 17
    Turnovers 13 15
    Steals 9 5
    Blocks 2 2
    Fast Break Points 16 11
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 22 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 6 16

    Top Performers

    Charlie Villanueva Villanueva
    Points: 25
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Fred Jones Jones
    Points: 20
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0