INDIANAPOLIS – Toronto coach Nick Nurse knew he needed somebody to step up and fill the scoring void left by two missing All-Stars.
OG Anunoby delivered with jab after jab Sunday.
The former Indiana University player scored a season-high 30 points, grabbed eight rebounds, defended well and made 3 of 4 free throws in the final minute to give the surging Raptors a 107-102 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
“I think it comes with opportunity, really,” Nurse said. “We had a couple of guys (Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam) who are a good percentage of our offense out, so it's going to shift somewhere. Tonight it shifted to OG.”
Thanks largely to Anunoby's strong game and a solid supporting cast, the Raptors have won two straight and five of six.
Anunoby went 9 of 16 from the field, 4 of 6 on 3-pointers and 8 of 10 from the free-throw line. Also, he helped hold Domantas Sabonis scoreless in the second half.
“They played good individual defense and played really well in the gaps,” said Myles Turner, who led Indiana with 25 points and six blocks. “I would say (Anunoby) was aggressive, chose his spots well, got downhill and got to the free-throw line. He had a good night.”
The Pacers played catch-up most of the game after falling behind midway through the second quarter. Toronto, with the help of Anunoby, extended the lead to 58-47 at the half.
Indiana finally regained the lead briefly in the fourth quarter, twice.
But the Raptors broke an 82-all tie with an 8-0 run and when Indiana tied the score again with 1:07 to play, Anunoby made 3 of 4 free throws. Toronto scored the final five points to hand Indiana its third loss in four games.
“They played hard, that's for sure,” Nurse said. “I've really got to compliment the whole group there.”
Anunoby extended his streak of double-figure scoring games to eight. Fred VanVleet scored 21 points and has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 48 consecutive games.
Sabonis had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first half for his 16th consecutive double-double to open the season. It's the longest streak of his career and the longest in Indiana's NBA era. He finished with 19 rebounds and five assists. Justin Holiday had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
First-year Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren lost his first matchup against his former team.