Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Fred VanVleet Caps Late Raptors Comeback as Toronto Beats Pacers 99-96

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Fred VanVleet Caps Late Raptors Comeback as Toronto Beats Pacers 99-96

Article excerpt

Fred VanVleet caps late Raptors comeback


TORONTO - Pascal Siakam summed up his confidence in teammate Fred VanVleet with two words: "Steady Freddie."

VanVleet displayed his resiliency Wednesday, bouncing back from a dismal first three quarters to rally the Toronto Raptors to a 99-96 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

VanVleet was 1-for-12 through the first 36 minutes before nailing a trio of three-pointers to ignite a furious Toronto rally in the fourth quarter.

"Steady Freddie, man," Siakam said with a smile. "I don't care if he misses 99 per cent of the time, I'm going to still pass him the ball because I know he's going to make the important ones."

What looked to be a Pacers rout -- they led by as many as 17 points -- turned into a close game in the fourth quarter with Toronto chipping away at a 10-point deficit.

VanVleet capped his three-point barrage with one with 25.9 seconds left to give Toronto its first lead since the opening quarter.

His first three ignited the sellout crowd at Scotiabank Arena, bringing the Raptors within seven points with eight minutes left, and his second followed an emphatic Kawhi Leonard dunk moments later to make it a two-point game at 90-88.

"It takes a lot of energy to play that bad and then that good at the end," said VanVleet, who finished with 11 points. "It was a roller-coaster of emotions and energy and effort and those ones feel good, walking back to the locker-room knowing you probably stole one.

"I thought the way we played the last 12 minutes we deserved to win but we really dug ourselves in a weird hole."

Leonard had 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead the injury-riddled Raptors (24-9), who were playing without all-star point guard Kyle Lowry and big man Serge Ibaka.

Pascal Siakam had 17 points and Greg Monroe added 13 as Toronto halted a string of back-to-back losses.

Victor Oladipo led Indiana (20-12) with 20 points and Myles Turner had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds and Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points. …

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