INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Paul George scored 21 points, Myles Turner added 15 and the Indiana Pacers beat the Toronto Raptors 101-83 on Friday night to force a Game 7 of their series.
That will be played Sunday in Toronto, and the winner will advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Indiana scored 18 straight points in the second half to pull away from the second-seeded Raptors, who haven’t won a postseason series since the first round in 2001.
DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph each had 15 points for the Raptors.
Kyle Lowry (4 for 14) and DeMar DeRozan (3 for 13) struggled again, and now the Raptors will head home and hear again about their troubled playoff problems: a Game 7 loss at home to Brooklyn in 2014, Washington’s four-game sweep last season and no series wins in a seven-game series. And there 15-year victory drought is the longest active streak in the league.
Indiana trailed by as much as 12 early, never led until early in the third quarter and had to fend off a late third-quarter charge from the Raptors before blowing it open in the fourth.
After Toronto cut the deficit to 65-64, Indiana responded by scoring the last six points of the third and the first 12 of the fourth to take an 83-64 lead.
The Raptors never recovered.
For Indiana, it was a dramatic turnabout.
Three days after blowing a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead, they came out flat. The Pacers struggled to make baskets, struggled to defend and played catch-up the entire first half after Toronto took an 18-6 lead just 6½ minutes into the game.
But once the Pacers got righted, they took control and pulled away.
Indiana rebounded from a 44-40 halftime deficit with a 10-2 run to take its first lead, 49-48 on Ian Mahinmi’s tip-in with 9:33 left. They extended the lead to 63-55 before Toronto charged back to get within 65-64 in the final two minutes of the quarter.
Indiana scored the next 18 points to seal it.