DeMar DeRozan gets himself, Raptors headed in right direction

AP Photo/Michael Conroy
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — DeMar DeRozan rebounded from his postseason shooting slump Thursday night, scoring 21 points, and Kyle Lowry also added 21 to help Toronto roll past Indiana 101-85.

The Raptors lead the best-of-seven first-round series 2-1 and have reclaimed the home-court advantage they squandered by losing the series opener last weekend.

Indiana was led by Paul George, who had 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Rookie Myles Turner scored 11 of 17 points in the second half.

But after the opening minutes, the game was never close.

DeRozan’s early scoring flurry spurred a 13-4 first-quarter run, which gave Toronto a 21-13 lead. The Raptors never trailed again.

And when DeRozan went to the bench at the start of the second quarter, the onslaught continued. Toronto opened the quarter on an 18-7 spurt, extending the lead to 42-24 and Indiana never got closer than 12 points again.

Seeing DeRozan back in All-Star form was a much needed relief for the Raptors.

Coming into Thursday, he was just 10 of 37 from the field and 0 for 5 from 3-point range through the first two games. In Monday’s victory he didn’t even attempt a free throw – only the second time that happened all season.

He had no trouble in Game 3. DeRozan made his first three shots, scored 12 points in the first quarter, finished 7 of 19 from the field and went 7 of 9 at the free throw line.

For the Pacers, it was an embarrassing night.

They scored a season-low 36 points in the first half, flirted with a season-low shooting percentage most of the game and were in danger of suffering their second-worst playoff loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse until a late push made the score less lopsided.

FRUSTRATING NIGHT

Neither the Pacers nor their fans were pleased with the way the game was officiated. George drew a technical foul in the final minute of the first quarter, Rodney Stuckey picked up another technical less than 3 minutes later and Turner drew his technical midway through the third.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Have their fifth playoff series lead in franchise history. The others: 3-2 in a best-of-five series win over the Knicks in 2001, 1-0 and 2-1 over Philadelphia in 2001 and 3-2 over Brooklyn in 2014. … Toronto is 5-19 all-time in playoff road games. … Swingman Terrence Ross had five points and three rebounds in a little less than 10 minutes after passing the league’s concussion protocol. Ross was injured when he ran into a teammate during Monday night’s victory. … DeMarre Carroll had 17 points and Cory Joseph scored 10.

Pacers: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game. It was his second trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for a game in less than three weeks – he also attended the NCAA women’s basketball championship. … Thursday marked the fifth anniversary of George’s home playoff debut, April 21, 2011. The Pacers also lost that night, to the Chicago Bulls. … Indiana’s worst playoff loss on its current home court was 110-79 to Boston in 2005. … The only other player to reach double figures was George Hill who had 13 points.