The Toronto Raptors move to 42-15 on the season after earning a historically dominant wire-to-wire victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Pascal Siakam led the way with 21 points in 31 minutes, while both Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry recorded impressive double-doubles.
Here are some thoughts on the game:
1. A win of historic proportion
46 points. Forty-six.
Prior to this game, the Raptors' largest margin of victory was 44, a mark set in December 2016.
By dominating from start to finish, Toronto bested the prior mark, earning a 127-81 win over Indiana, a team that will find itself in the playoffs come April.
2. Toronto sets the tone early
A good start is often the key to victory.
From the opening tip, Toronto asserted its dominance on both ends of the floor, getting out to a 34-12 lead at the end of the opening frame. The Pacers' 12 points were the fewest allowed by the Raptors in the first quarter all season.
Sensational quarter of basketball.- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 23, 2020
Baka - 11p, 6r
Skills - 11p pic.twitter.com/7s3c5m9KKI
Toronto held its opponent to 4-for-23 (17.4%) shooting from the field while they shot 13-for-23 (56.5%) from the field and 4-for-7 from deep. The offence was paced by 11 points from both Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka, who shot a combined 9-for-13 (69.2%) from the field.
This had the feel of a wire-to-wire win from the early moments.
3. A dominant defensive showing
Defence does a lot. It leads to offence and wins championships, among many other things.
Tonight, the Raptors showed just why they have the league's second-rated defence.
Indiana finished with just 81 points on 31-for-95 (32.6%) and committed 17 turnovers. Domantas Sabonis (14), Malcolm Brogdon (9) and TJ Warren (7) were held to a combined 30 points on 13-for-43 shooting.
Led by five from Kyle Lowry, Toronto grabbed nine steals.
Young OG at work pic.twitter.com/efrR9PRrL0- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 24, 2020
Led by four from Chris Boucher, Toronto recorded 10 blocks.
Denied by Davis pic.twitter.com/q4ME1VbFaM- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 24, 2020
The Raptors pushed the pace (no pun intended) and scored 33 points in transition.
4. Win No. 100 for Coach Nurse
With the win, Nick Nurse is now 100-39 through his second season as the Toronto Raptors head coach.
Steve Kerr is the only head coach to reach 100 wins in fewer games as he did so by his 117th game at the helm. Like Kerr, Nurse also won an NBA title in his first year as a head coach.
His win percentage also improves to .719, the highest in NBA history, albeit at a much smaller sample size.
5. Serge Ibaka coming up big
While Marc Gasol continues to work back from a lingering hamstring issue, Serge Ibaka continues to prove his value as he starts in his place.
Entering Sunday, Ibaka was averaging 19.0 points and 8.7 rebounds as a starter. He displayed more of the same against the Pacers.
Ibaka had recorded a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds by the end of the first half. He would go on to finish with 15 points (on 7-for-11 shooting) and 15 rebounds - his 16th double-double of the season.
Ma Fuzzy - 11- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 23, 2020
Them - 3 pic.twitter.com/Byo5wnnRHz
This season, the Raptors are now 12-4 when Ibaka records a double-double.
6. Double-double KLow
In addition to Ibaka, All-Star Kyle Lowry recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 assists in under 32 minutes of action.
Y'all wanna talk about range? pic.twitter.com/cmjDRKmbvb- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 23, 2020
Not only is it Lowry's 13th double-double of the season, but it is also the sixth straight game in which he has recorded one, extending a career-best streak.
Toronto is now 9-4 when Lowry records a double-double, with two of the losses coming in one-possession games.
7. How this impacts the playoff picture
With the Celtics loss to the Lakers earlier on Sunday, the Raptors now hold a 2.5 game lead for the East's No. 2 seed with 25 games to go.
Toronto and Boston meet once more on March 20 at Scotiabank Arena, as the Raptors have the opportunity to tie the season series at two games apiece, something that could prove to be key in jostling for position.
Speaking of the season series, Toronto takes the series over Indiana for the sixth-straight time. The gap has grown between the Raptors and Pacers in the standings, but it's always a positive to win the season series against conference foes, even if it doesn't have a hand in seeding.
The Pacers are now 2.5 games back of the 76ers after losing seven of their last nine.
8. Jeremy Lamb's status
Just over two minutes into the second quarter, Pacers reserve guard Jeremy Lamb went down after being fouled on a transition layup.
Lamb stayed down for some time and sank two free throws after Indiana took a timeout. He would exit the game with what was ruled as a sore left knee.
Injury Update: Jeremy Lamb (sore left knee) will not return- Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) February 24, 2020
With Victor Oladipo already dealing with a nagging injury, Lamb's status moving forward is key to the Pacers keeping their depth.
9. What's next?
The Raptors' four-game homestand continues as they host the Milwaukee Bucks for the first time since Game 6 of the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday. The Pacers return home to host the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday.
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