Raptors find a way

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

The Raptors were scrappy and crappy last night and, ultimately, the former won out. Big time.

Trailing by as much 19 points in the third quarter, the Raptors kept fighting to get back in the game and defeated the Indiana Pacers 98-97 at the Conseco Fieldhouse when Jalen Rose nailed two free throws with 0.4 seconds on the clock. For the Raptors, it was their fourth victory in 24 road contests.

With 1.9 seconds left, coach Sam Mitchell substituted Rose for Eric Williams. On the inbound play, Rose took a pass from Milt Palacio and was fouled by the Pacers' Stephen Jackson from about 25 feet out. Rose stepped up and with 14,783 Indiana supporters screaming, nailed both free throws for the win.

Rose said he lives for such moments.

"I love it," said Rose, who was a fan favourite in Indiana when he played for the Pacers from 1997 to 2001. "It was a total team win. I have to give a lot of credit to Milt, who played 46 minutes, and was flirting with a triple-double, but she just didn't give him her phone number.

"And Chris Bosh played like a man," Rose added. "He's an all-star, he's legit. I don't see him playing in the rookie-sophomore game, I want to see him in the big boys game."

Palacio, filling in for suspended starting point guard Rafer Alston, stepped up large for the Raptors, rebounding from a slow first half to record 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

Bosh was quietly effective against the 20-24 Pacers, pulling in 15 rebounds and scoring 25 points for the 19-27 Raps. Rose ended the game with 22 points.

Surprisingly, Mitchell said that hardly a word was spoken at the half, with the Raptors trailing 53-36.

"It was huge win, considering how we played the first half," he said. "We played so bad in the first half, which was shocking (because) we had two unbelievable days of practice."

"I've been saying this all year, one thing I give our guys credit for, and I wish we wouldn't do it, but when we dig a hole, we don't stop playing," the coach added.

Donyell Marshall scored eight in the fourth quarter, including two threes, to pace the Raptors comeback. Morris Peterson continued his woeful ways on the road. The starting small forward is averaging 15.3 points per game at home and 8.1 on the road and last night in Indy, he managed five points, shooting 2-for-7.

Things started falling apart for the Raptors early in the first quarter when starting centre Rafael Araujo was sent to the bench after picking up two fouls in less than three minutes. The Raps shot an uninspiring 27% from the field in the quarter while Palacio turned the ball over three times.

Indiana also picked up seven offensive rebounds. The Pacers took a commanding 32-18 lead -- the fourth time in the past six games that Raps have given up 30 or more in the opening 12 minutes.


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