Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Roy Hibbert scored 22 points while leading a strong defensive effort that propelled the Indiana Pacers to an 86-79 win over the Toronto Raptors at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Lance Stephenson flirted with a triple-double after amassing 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, helping Indiana offset an off night from star Paul George and notch its eighth win in nine games. The Pacers' lone loss over that stretch came to the Raptors in Toronto on New Year's Day.
George struggled to record 11 points while saddled with foul trouble for much of the evening, but his team prevailed behind its defense and a sharp performance at the free throw line.
The Pacers held Toronto to 37 percent shooting from the field and went 21- of-26 from the charity stripe, with Hibbert making all but one of his 13 attempts.
"Our guys buckled down, had a great defensive performance," said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel. "It was a good win."
Toronto did receive 28 points from DeMar DeRozan and 20 off the bench out of Patrick Patterson in the loss, the Raptors' second straight following a season-high five-game win streak.
The Pacers missed seven of their first nine shots as Toronto raced out to an 11-4 lead midway through the opening quarter, but quickly reversed the momentum by outscoring the Raptors by an 18-4 count over the remainder of the period. George Hill spearheaded the surge by dropping in seven of his 11 points.
Toronto cut a 10-point second-quarter deficit down to one following an 11-2 spurt that made the score 32-31 with under five minutes left in the half. However, Stephenson put up five points in the final 1:42 of the frame to send Indiana into the break owning a 44-36 edge.
The Pacers expanded the margin with a strong third quarter, with Hibbert delivering seven points during a 9-2 flurry that put the hosts up 71-54 with under a minute to go in the stanza.
Toronto was able to close the gap in the fourth, with Indiana's lead trimmed to just six at 81-75 when Patterson capped a 9-4 push with a 3-pointer with 2:52 remaining.
The differential remained at six entering the last minute, but the Raptors failed to score the rest of the way and George hit 1-of-2 free throws with 21 seconds left to account for the final margin.
"Down the stretch, you can't beat a team like that by trading baskets with them," said Patterson. "You have to get stops and we just couldn't do that."
The 79 points were a season low for the Raptors, who managed just 80 in a loss to Chicago on Nov. 15 ... Indiana finished with a 53-36 rebounding advantage and a 40-26 margin in points in the paint, with David West tallying 12 boards for the Pacers ... Indiana is 21-1 this season when winning the battle on the glass ... George's 11-point output was his second-lowest of the season and less than half of his season average of 23.2 per game ... Toronto's Kyle Lowry had a 24-game streak of six or more assists end when he managed only two in the loss.