INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Even in a victory, the Indiana Pacers are
struggling to hold big leads.
"It does feel good to win, but we showed some signs of giving
this one up," he said of the Pacers, who led by as many as 15
points in the third quarter but saw the lead slip to one in the
"We've got to get to the point when we get a big lead, we feel
confident and finish them off," Jackson said. "We're not going to
be a great team until we can do that."
The Pacers held the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference
playoff race and closed to within a half game of sixth-place
Milwaukee (37-38), which lost to Orlando.
Indiana is a game and a half ahead of Chicago (35-40), which
knocked Philadelphia (34-40) two games behind the Pacers by beating
the Sixers on Wednesday.
Jermaine O'Neal scored 18 points for the Pacers and Anthony
Johnson added 16.
Mike James scored 34 points and had 11 rebounds for Toronto,
which lost its sixth straight game. He also had eight assists, just
missing the first triple-double of his career.
Toronto and the Pacers each hit 33 field goals, but Indiana made
a season-high 36-of-45 from the free-throw line. Toronto went
18-of-22 at the line.
"We were just aggressive driving on them," Jackson said.
"They've got some good scorers. We just had to keep going at
James said the Pacers had the right idea.
"We did not move our feet very well all night," he said. "We
just seem like we are a step slow. We were allowing them to get to
the rim constantly, and it's tough to win when you're doing that."
Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said his players simply fouled too
"I guess it's just us being young guys," he said. "Part of
our defense has to be not fouling 30 feet from the basket and
committing silly fouls."
Matt Bonner, who came off the bench to score 14 points, hit a
jumper to cut the Raptors' double-digit deficit to 95-94 in the
fourth quarter. But the Pacers outscored the Raptors 16-9 the rest
of the way.
"You've go to keep playing and stay the course," Pacers coach
Rick Carlisle said after his team beat Toronto for the first time
in three games. "We're in the midst of the playoff picture, and
we'll have to win our way in. We're not going to back in."
Stojakovic and Jackson scored four points each as the Pacers
opened the game with a 12-2 run. They never trailed, though the
Raptors made several runs.
James hit two baskets and a free throw as Toronto cut the lead
to 22-17 late in the first period. A 7-3 run by Toronto early in
the second quarter trimmed the deficit to 34-30, and James hit a
3-pointer as the Raptors drew to 41-38 with 5:37 left before the
Indiana regained a 10-point lead, but the Raptors scored the
last six points of the half to trail 54-50.
The starting lineup of Stojakovic, O'Neal, Jackson, Johnson
and Jeff Foster was the 30th combination used by Carlisle this
season, equaling the team record set last year. ... Foster, who had
12 rebounds, is averaging 11.8 rebounds in his last 16 games. He
has had at least nine rebounds in 10 of his last 11 games. ...
Toronto All-Star Chris Bosh is out for the remainder of the season
with a sprained left thumb. ... Pacers guard Fred Jones missed his
second straight game with a torn ligament in his left thumb.