LOS ANGELES: DeMar DeRozan returned to form with 34 points as the Toronto Raptors overturned a double-digit deficit to defeat the Indiana Pacers 102-99 and seize control of their best-of-seven playoff series on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).
DeRozan, who had entered the game averaging just 13.3 points, turned on the style as the Raptors fought back from 13 points down to seal a win which gives them a 3-2 lead.
“I felt like my normal self,” said a relieved DeRozan, who admitted Toronto had struggled to concentrate as the Pacers took an early lead.
“Me and the guys weren’t thinking too hard. It’s all about patience, you can’t get flustered, you can’t get frustrated, you’ve got to stay the course. And that’s what we’re going to continue to do, whatever it takes to win,” DeRozan said.
Toronto had found themselves staring down the barrel of a home defeat after Indiana raced into a 90-77 lead in the third quarter.
But a 15-2 Raptors points blitz in the opening 5 mins 29 sec of the fourth quarter hauled the home side back into the contest with rookie Norman Powell scoring a monster dunk to tie it 92-92.
DeRozan then stepped up to drain a three-pointer to give the Raptors their first lead as Toronto held on for a pulsating win.
Pacers star Paul George had a game-high 39 points including eight rebounds and eight assists while George Hill added 15 points and Myles Turner had 14.
George bemoaned the Pacers’ failure to hang on for what would have been a potentially pivotal road victory.
“We didn’t make enough plays, that is what it came down to in the fourth quarter,” said George. “We have to put this (game) away. Friday (Game 6) is a new day and we have to get a win—it’s a must win. It’s awful to have a chance to win on the road and then come back home, but we failed to live up to the moment.”
The Pacers had appeared to be firmly in control after opening up a 61-52 halftime lead.
Indiana had looked the more polished side throughout the opening half, with George scoring 22 of his points in the first two quarters.
Toronto had lagged 35-20 after the first quarter following Indiana’s freescoring start. George led the Pacers scoring with 12 points and four assists in the quarter while Hill added nine points.