Starters can't do it all as the Toronto Raptors lose to the Indiana Pacers 122-114

Nickeem Khan
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Performing on the road has been a problem for the Toronto Raptors and continues to be one going into this new calendar year, as they dropped a close game to the Indiana Pacers to a score of 122-114. This game featured all of the starters playing more than 35 minutes, while three played 40 minutes. Regardless, it wasn't enough to take down the Pacers.

The big takeaway from this game was no doubt the disparity in bench productivity. Toronto combined for a total of seven bench points. All the while T.J. McConnell, Jalen Smith, and Bennedict Mathurin all outscored the Raptors bench individually. No matter who the opponent is that isn't a recipe for success.

Mathurin, the Montreal product, finished with 21 points and displayed flashes of his offensive capabilities with big-time shots and his knack for drawing fouls. The one player who was producing off the bench for Toronto was Gary Trent Jr., but he was in the starting lineup for this game and showed out.

The former Duke Blue Devil finished with a game-high 32 points and did so on an efficient 11-18 from the field. Pascal Siakam joined him with 26 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. While all the starters for Toronto finished in double figures, there was one who didn't and that was Fred VanVleet.

VanVleet continues to struggle this season and is among the worst shooting players in the NBA as he shoots 37 percent from the field. He only finished with 9 points and shot 20 percent from the field. Compared to the Pacers' starting point guard, Tyrese Haliburton who finished with 16 points and eight assists, it's clear to see who won that matchup.

Toronto continues to leak oil although it is a new year. They drop to 16-21 and are currently outside of the play-in. They will get a day's rest before coming back to Scotiabank Arena for a six-game homestand, which will kick off against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday at 7:30 PM on ESPN.