(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors own the best record in the East, and will face one of the weaker teams in the conference, the Indiana Pacers, Friday night at Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors are just a half-game ahead of both the Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks for East supremacy. They've lost two of their last three and four of the last seven.
On Tuesday, Toronto ran into the buzz saw known as the Cleveland Cavaliers, falling to LeBron James and company, 105-101, at Quicken Loans Arena.
The game was tied 99-99 before Kevin Love pump-faked from the left wing beyond the arc, dribbled to the left elbow and dished to James, who knocked down the trey from straightaway for the 802nd 3-pointer in his Cavs career. It came with less than a minute on the clock.
The Raptors hung tough, but an intentional foul, coupled with a contested shot of Kyle Lowry's sent the Cavs to victory.
"If you want to be an elite team, those are the plays you have to make at the end of the game," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said.
Toronto shot 58.1 percent (38-of-62) through the first three quarters and led by as many as 10 in the fourth, but Cleveland held the Raptors to a 30 percent (6-of-20) clip in the final frame.
Lowry supplied 16 points and 14 assists, while Jonas Valanciunas provided 18 points and 15 boards for the Raptors. Ross added 18, followed by 12 apiece from Patrick Patterson and James Johnson. Amir Johnson contributed 10 in the losing effort.
The Pacers are in freefall, the losers of six straight and five in a row as the visitor.
The streak reached six Wednesday night thanks to a 103-96 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Trailing by 17 entering the final quarter, the Pacers chipped away at the large deficit. A quick 12-4 spurt, including eight points from C.J. Miles, cut the deficit to 86-77.
With two minutes remaining, Lavoy Allen's jumper pulled Indiana within two. The Clippers took care of business late, the Pacers rushed some shots and the Clippers emerged victorious.
Miles led all scorers with 30 points off Indiana's bench.
"I've just been able to find some creases and make some shots," said Miles. "I think that I've been able to stay on the floor consistently and practice consistently has helped me out."
Lavoy Allen added 14 points and 13 rebounds in a reserve role and he was joined by Luis Scola, who finished with 12 points and 14 boards. The Pacers bench finished with 66 points.
The teams split last season's four matchups, but the Raptors have won two straight at Air Canada Centre. Indiana won the four previous meetings before Toronto's streak in the great north.