RAPTORS 127, PACERS 81: “A lot of times you start 14-2 and you end up 24-22 at the quarter or something like that, so you don’t get too carried away. It was one of those where it just kept extending and there was not too many moments. There was one little lapse to start the second, where we turned it over, a little lapse to start the third where we didn’t stop them for about three or four possessions, but we answered a couple and after that there wasn’t any. There were some mistakes and there is going to be, but most of the time it was hard playing mistakes.” –NICK NURSE.

(33-24) INDIANA PACERS, 81 VS. (42-15) TORONTO RAPTORS, 127 SCOTIABANK ARENA SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2020

TORONTO RAPTORS QUOTES

NICK NURSE (HEAD COACH)

On this being the best game you have played start to finish in a long time … Probably, yeah. Flying and executing the coverages, the ball was popping and every single guy that went in there was on, ready to go.

On the teams defence … Well, the defence starts with a lot of desire to do it, so there is want to out of this group to play it. Then it becomes how connected can these guys all be, it is hard to play if all five guys aren’t doing it. There are a lot of coverages and things and it takes a lot of connectivity between five guys. Just play hard and get some confidence, its builds momentum, you start jarring a few loose and the energy keeps rolling, you start making some good plays and tough shots and confidence builds.

On Kyle Lowry being a big factor in the defensive play … For sure, and I think again that I say this a lot, his compete level, I’ve never coached or seen anybody play as hard as this guy does in basketball. It is the ultimate compliment and it rubs off on the other guys. Not only does he do it that way, he plays it smart, he knows the coverages, he knows the opponents, he studies film, he gives his body up. All those things kind of transfer to the other guys I believe. Leadership.

On Pascal Siakam passing out of the post … I thought tonight he really was ready for them to swarm him and come at him and his timing was awesome. Sometimes you get caught in between your move and you are not quite to your move and then there are too many bodies there. He was working to score and when the nest person came the timing of what he was doing was pretty good. Impeccable really.

On getting the sense it will be a big night the way the game started … Well, I try not to. A lot of times its fool’s gold or games change pretty quickly. A lot of times you start 14-2 and you end up 24-22 at the quarter or something like that, so you don’t get too carried away. It was one of those where it just kept extending and there was not too many moments. There was one little lapse to start the second, where we turned it over, a little lapse to start the third where we didn’t stop them for about three or four possessions, but we answered a couple and after that there wasn’t any. There were some mistakes and there is going to be, but most of the time it was hard playing mistakes.

KYLE LOWRY (16 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds)

At what point in the first quarter did you start to see how this game was going to go? We played well. Our defence played well. They missed some shots early, missed some layups. We played them physical and kept our pace up. It was a good start for us.

Is this the ideal game you’d like to have as a team? I think every game is different. We came out and we played well. We made shots and they missed a lot of shots. We were physical. It’s something you can learn something from each game. Our third quarter start wasn’t good enough for us. We had a couple lulls in that third quarter that we didn’t like. These are the type of the games when you are a good team you have to continue to keep going and going and building and building. We had a couple of lax moments, but we figured a way out to keep it going and to keep building on it.

SERGE IBAKA (15 points, 15 rebounds)

On tonight’s game… We set the tone early. Normally when we start good like this, we relax. Tonight, as a team, we did a great job of focusing on us and keep working together.

Has your game improved because of the increase in minutes and touches? I feel like my teammates have been doing a great job of looking for me, especially my two point guards, Kyle and Freddie, so it’s big when you get a couple of touches on offence. It gets you loose and in your zone.

How much better is Pascal getting in recognizing when the help is coming? As good as Pascal is in the post it’s going to happen a lot. It’s on him to read that. We also have to do better job, sometimes they double and he tries to find us. We have to a better job of moving to make it easier for him. That’s what I did tonight. He kept feeding me.

Do you feel more comfortable cutting around him now when he’s in the post? I think some games I kind of hesitate. The good thing about watching film is that you learn from that. We watch film. The coaches keep telling me if your guys go, you are to go. I’m going to keep working on that and keep watching tape to get better and better.

(33-24) INDIANA PACERS, 81 VS. (42-15) TORONTO RAPTORS, 127 SCOTIABANK ARENA SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2020

INDIANA PACERS QUOTES

NATE MCMILLAN (HEAD COACH)

On from the start of the game, you were overwhelmed… That’s a wakeup call, man. I mean that team is playing for something big and they showed us what February, March, April, if you can get into May and June, what it’s going to look like, and what you got to play against. They jumped on us, they came with the intensity, they play with a sense of urgency. That team is connected out there. We’re back on our heels from the start of this game. Its NBA basketball, and we got to get to that level.

How do you get this team to respond Tuesday night? This is about pride. You get kicked like this, the response is come out and play basketball, it’s as simple as that. We’ve got to play with more energy, more effort, more connection, more of everything. It’s as simple as that.

At times you have been able to overcome slow starts, this was just too big, wasn’t it? Again, that team, they’re champions and they’re playing great basketball on both ends of the floor. Tonight, they jumped on us and really everything we had to get we had to earn it. Really never got a rhythm or was able to get anything going defensively, never was able to get any stops. This is the type of basketball we got to expect to see the rest of the season. Teams are playing for positioning; this team is playing for home court and to win the East. Some of these teams that are not in the race, those guys are going to be playing for jobs. So you are going to see this type of intensity going down the stretch and you got to be ready for it.

JEREMY LAMB (five points, one assists, one steal)

Is the injury serious? I’m not sure. Hopefully it’s not too serious and I can get right back on the court, but I just have to wait on it.

What’s it like? It’s sore (and) swelling, so I just have to wait on it. I mean, I don’t have much to say. I don’t really know. Nothing was cracked or nothing like that, but (I) just have to wait on it at this point.

Do you think the play was dangerous? No. I’m not upset about it. He tried to make a play on it and that happens all the time. He bumped me in the air and I hung on the rim, so I don’t think it was dirty or nothing like that. It just happens, and obviously looking back on it, I probably should have not hung on the rim or I don’t know, try to slow him up or something, lay it up, whatever it was. I missed so many layups already, so I was like, “I’m dunking this to make sure it goes in.” Just a freak accident.

DOMANTAS SABONIS (14 points, 11 rebounds, five assists)

On tonight’s game… We just didn’t come out ready to play. As you saw the first three minutes we dug ourselves a hole and couldn’t get out of it.

Did you have trouble with their pressure? I feel like at the beginning we were down like 10 or 15, but we were getting open looks. We just weren’t converting, even easy ones under the basket, and then as the game went on, we just couldn’t even get open.

Does it feel like the same issues are persisting this month? Yeah. Nate has been saying ever since the All-Star break (that) every game is going to be different. Everyone is fighting for position. It’s going to be tough and today we just thought we could come out here and beat the champions, and you just can’t do that in this league.

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