Pacers try to stay unbeaten with Raps in town
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers are the only unbeaten team in the NBA and look to keep it that way when they host the Toronto Raptors Friday night from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers are 5-0 for the first time as an NBA franchise and since 1971-72 as a member of the ABA. They started 5-0 in 1967-68; 6-0 in 1970-71; and 5-0 in 1971-72 on the way to winning one of their three ABA championships.
Indiana improved to 3-0 as the host this season with Wednesday's 97-80 drubbing of their Central rival Chicago Bulls, as Paul George continued his hot start to the season with 21 points and six rebounds. George is fourth in the NBA with 25.8 ppg.
David West ended with 17 points and 13 rebounds, Lance Stephenson scored 15 points and Luis Scola recorded 12 points for the Pacers, who took advantage of 18 Chicago turnovers, leading to 29 points, and outscored the Bulls by a lopsided 60-37 margin in the second half.
The Pacers, playing on the second night of a back-to-back after a win at Detroit, had a 34-18 advantage in the fourth quarter.
"The fourth quarter is when you're supposed to tire," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "I'm really proud of the effort."
In injury news for Vogel's squad, guard George Hill is questionable Friday because of a sore left hip. Hill has played just two games this season.
Toronto has lost two in a row and three of four games, and is coming off a 92-90 setback at Charlotte on Wednesday.
Rudy Gay led the charge with 20 points and DeMar DeRozan added 14 points for the Raptors, who received 13 points from Amir Johnson and 12 points and 10 rebounds by Jonas Valanciunas. The Raptors dug themselves a hole early on and trailed 32-18 after the first quarter.
"Usually our defense fuels our offense and we didn't get many stops early on, they made a lot of shots to start the game off. We have to come in more defensive minded," said Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, who had eight points and six assists.
Surprisingly, the Raptors have outrebounded their opponent in each of the first five games this season.
Raptors forward Tyler Hansbrough will face his former Indiana team for the first time Friday and was selected by the Pacers 13th overall in 2009. D.J. Augustin also played for the Pacers last season.
DeRozan leads Toronto with 19.2 ppg.
Toronto and Indiana split four meetings last season, while the Pacers are 10-5 in the past 15 encounters. The Raptors have lost two in a row and nine of 13 trips to Indy.
11/08 10:33:53 ET