INDIANAPOLIS — Toronto coach Nick Nurse knew needed somebody to replace the scoring void left by two missing All-Stars.
OG Anunoby delivered with jab after jab Sunday.
He scored a season-high 30 points, grabbed eight rebounds, defended well and made three of four 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,” coach Nick 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 their last six. Plus, they maintained their dominance over the Pacers, who have lost six straight season series to Toronto.
Anunoby, the former Indiana University star, was the key.
He went 9 of 16 from the field, 4 of 6 on 3-pointers and 8 of 10 from the free-throw line and he excelled defensively, too, helping to hold Domantas Sabonis, Indiana’s All-Star forward, 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 he (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 three of four 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. He also made four 3s, giving him 27 in the last eight games.
Indiana welcomed fans back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday. Team officials announced previously they would cap attendance at 1,000. After Monday night, they will consider increasing the capacity. Local and state officials have said the Pacers can have as many as 4,500 fans inside the arena.