TORONTO (AP) - The Indiana Pacers fell behind by 16 points and leading scorer Danny Granger was ejected. That was just the first half.
Still, they found a way to win.
Tyler Hansbrough made two key free throws with less than 15 seconds to play and the Pacers rallied to beat the Toronto Raptors 95-90 on Friday night.
``I'm proud of our guys for grinding out a game that didn't really go our way, being able to find a way to win and execute in the fourth quarter,' coach Frank Vogel said.
George Hill scored a season-high 22 points for the Pacers, while Roy Hibbert fouled out with 15 points and nine rebounds. Hansbrough and David West each scored 13 and Paul George added 10.
``That's us,' Hill said of Indiana's fight-back. ``We've got to play with a chip on our shoulder. Eighth place last year is not good enough for us. We feel like we can be one of the top teams in the East.'
The Pacers (8-3) have won two straight and four of five.
DeMar DeRozan had 23 points and Leandro Barbosa came off the bench to score 20 for the Raptors, who have lost three straight and five or six.
Jose Calderon had 15 points and nine assists for Toronto, who made just 20 of 32 free throw attempts, including eight misses in the fourth quarter.
Granger was ejected in the second quarter after being called for his second technical foul. Granger got his first technical for arguing a non-call three minutes into the first quarter, then picked up his second for staring down Toronto's Ed Davis after a blocked shot with 29 seconds left in the half.
``Not a smart play,' Vogel said. ``When you already have a technical, it's not a smart play.'
Hill said Granger, who did not speak to the media, apologized to the Pacers once the game was done.
Granger came in leading Indiana with 15.9 points per game but struggled against the Raptors, shooting just 1 of 8 and scoring four points.
While he was upset at losing Granger, Vogel said he feels his team has seven players who are starter caliber, a sentiment shared by West.
``We know that we've got enough depth on this team that if somebody is struggling, there's another guy there who can get it going,' West said. ``If we can continue to stay together and continue to play unselfishly, we're going to have an opportunity to win games like we did tonight.'
The score was tied 65-65 heading into the fourth but neither team was able to take control, with the margin never exceeding two points until the final 15 seconds.
DeRozan was fouled on a driving layup with 1:07 left but failed to convert the three-point play. West answered with a running hook shot, putting the Pacers up 90-88 with 54 seconds remaining.
After a Toronto timeout, Hibbert fouled out on Amir Johnson's game-tying layup. Like DeRozan, Johnson also failed to make his free throw, keeping the score knotted at 90-90 with 32 seconds to go.
At the other end, Johnson sent West to the line. He made the first but missed the second, and Hansbrough was fouled after grabbing the rebound, Johnson's sixth foul. Hansbrough made both, giving the Pacers a three-point edge.
Toronto's Jamaal Magloire was fouled at the other end but missed both free throws, airballing his first attempt. Indiana's Darren Collison capped it by making two free throws.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey acknowledged it was a mistake for Magloire, a poor free throw shooter, to touch the ball in a situation that called for a foul.
``I take full blame for that,' Casey said. ``I should not have had him handling the ball. I should have had Ed Davis at the top.'
Things went better for the Raptors in the opening half. Calderon fed James Johnson for an alley-oop dunk, giving Toronto their biggest lead of the game, 40-24, with 6:30 left in the second. But Collison and Granger each scored four points as the Pacers closed the half with a 16-5 run, cutting it to 45-40 at the break.
Davis, who had six points and 10 rebounds, made his first start of the season in place of Andrea Bargnani, who left in the third quarter of Wednesday's loss to Sacramento with a strained left calf. Bargnani is day to day.
NOTES: The Pacers finished 32 for 38 at the free throw line. ... Indiana began a stretch that will see them play nine of 12 away from home. ... Toronto's 27 first-quarter points were a season-high. ... The Pacers outrebounded the Raptors 36-35, improving to 6-0 this season when they hold the rebounding advantage. ... The Raptors open a three-game road trip at Chicago on Saturday. The game against the Bulls will be Toronto's seventh in nine days.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved