INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Pacers changed lineups, moved the ball and forced turnovers.
By doing all that differently, they looked like a different team.
George Hill and Ian Mahinmi each scored 22 points, Paul George added 19 and the Pacers bounced back from an embarrassing home loss two days earlier to rout the Toronto Raptors 100-83 on Saturday and even the first-round playoff series at 2-2.
“This is how I wanted us to respond to the Game 3 loss,” George said. “I thought we were very attentive and focused on evening this series up.”
The turnaround from 48 hours earlier was remarkable.
Indiana found the passion and energy it was missing Thursday, defended aggressively and won the rebounding battle for the first time in the best-of-seven series.
Hill missed only two shots, both 3-pointers. Mahinmi had a career-high scoring total, while his 10 rebounds and five assists were both playoff career bests.
The Pacers forced as many turnovers in the first 20 minutes as they had in all of Game 3, and they made five of their first seven 3s — more than enough to help pull away on a night that a large, loud Raptors crowd infiltrated the Pacers’ home arena.
Now, Indiana will head back to Toronto seeking a similar performance in Game 5 on Tuesday.
“Right from the start, we were playing for each other,” coach Frank Vogel said. “The man with the basketball was thinking pass and everyone else was being aggressive spacing, cutting and rolling, much better job sharing it and protecting it.”
Toronto’s playoff demons also returned.
While Jonas Valanciunas led the Raptors with 16 points, he finished with a series-low six rebounds. Kyle Lowry and DeMarre Carroll each scored 12.
Lowry fouled out with 4:41 to play and DeMar DeRozan continued to struggle, finished with eight points and failing to attempt a free throw for the second time in this week and the third time all season. The two All-Star guards were a combined 8 of 27 from the field and 0 for 7 on 3s.
“We’ve got to learn from tonight and we’ve got to get better,” Lowry said. “That’s the one thing we’ve done all year is we’ve always come back and gotten better.”
Indiana scored the first seven points, took control with a 3-point spree late in the first quarter and led by as much as 25 in the first half. Toronto, which never led or tied the score, cut it to 57-42 at halftime, but couldn’t got closer than 11 in the second half.
The game was marred by a scuffle midway through the fourth quarter. After Mahinmi made the second of two free throws with 5:03 left, Valanciunas gave George a small shove underneath the basket. George responded with words and then Carroll ran into the gathering crowd. All three players drew technical fouls, George’s second in two games.
Vogel kept his plan quiet almost until tip-off, when he announced rookie Myles Turner would start in place of Lavoy Allen. Allen averaged 2.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in the first three games but only played the final 2:31 on Saturday. Turner finished with four points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
On Thursday, the Pacers were complaining about the calls. On Saturday, it was the Raptors. In addition to the two technical fouls assessed during the scuffle, Patrick Patterson also drew a technical early in the fourth. Carroll was asked about players talking to the refs. “I want to save my money,” he said. “I got a daughter, I got a son, I got to buy Pampers. But let me just put it this way. I wish it was the old days, you know? The Detroit Pistons days, the Bad Boys,” before acknowledging both teams had calls go their way.
Raptors: Have never led a playoff series by two games and still have not won back-to-back road games in a single playoff series. … Lost the rebounding battle for the first time, 43-40, despite getting nine rebounds from Bismack Biyombo. … Toronto shot 36.5 percent from the field, 26.7 percent on 3s and was 21 of 30 from the free throw line.
Pacers: Outscored Toronto 25-13 in points off turnovers and had a 15-11 advantage on offensive rebounds. … Indiana won for only the third time in 12 games against the Raptors, including the playoffs. … Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck attended the game.