INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - George Hill delivered for the Pacers in his first start for his hometown team.
Hill scored 18 points as Indiana took an early lead and held off the Toronto Raptors, 103-98 on Monday night.
Hill, who was traded from San Antonio for the draft rights of Kawhi Leonard last summer, moved into the starting lineup due to Darren Collison's groin injury. Hill also had seven rebounds and four assists after entering the game with averages of 8.7 points and 2.9 rebounds.
``It's fun, you get to go out there and show what you can do as a starter,' Hill said. ``Have fun out there with the first unit, which I never have got a chance to play with.
``It just shows if one person goes down, we are a complete team.'
Danny Granger also scored 18 points, Paul George had 15 and Leandro Barbosa added 14 to help the Pacers - third in the Eastern Conference - win for the fourth time in their last five games.
Barbosa played his first game against his former since being traded to Indiana for a second-round pick and cash on March 15. He was scoreless in the first half, but added seven in the third quarter and finished with 14 on 5-for-9 shooting from the field.
``I've been pleased with everything he has done since he got here,' Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. ``He has a knack for putting the ball in the basket like few in this league.'
Linas Kleiza scored 18 points - all in the fourth quarter - as the Raptors tried to rally from a 15-point deficit at the start of the period.
``I appreciate the guys' effort,' Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. ``They came out and fought and didn't give in. I thought (Kleiza) came in and gave us a lot of juice in the second half.
``The fight was there. They put us in a tough situation with their pressure, but our guys found a way. It wasn't pretty and again, all we can do is ask for that type of effort.'
Alan Anderson had 13 of his 17 points in the third quarter and Amir Johnson finished with 16 for Toronto. Ed Davis added 11 points and 10 rebounds and Jose Calderon had 14 assists.
After a slow start, the Pacers finished 51 percent from the field (36 for 71). The Raptors were 55 percent (21 of 38) in the second half and finished at 48 percent.
Anderson and Kleiza gave the Raptors a chance in the second half. Kleiza scored 10 points as Toronto had a 17-4 run over the first 5:14 of the fourth to pull the Raptors to 81-79. However, the Pacers responded with a 14-6 spurt to increase the lead to 10 points with 1:43 to go.
Calderon had a 3 and Kleiza made two free throws to pull the Raptors to 95-90, but Hill made a 3 with 33.9 seconds remaining to seal the Pacers' win.
The Pacers play six of their final nine games at home, including the last four. Five of those are against playoff contenders: two against both the Bucks and 76ers, and the season finale against the Bulls, who hold the league's best record. The Pacers are in the mix for home-court advantage with three other teams - Boston, Atlanta and Orlando - that have between 33 and 35 wins.
``We cannot take none of the games for granted,' Hill said. ``Third place through eighth place is so close, so every game has meaning.
``Luckily for us, most of them are at home. We have to protect our court.'
Hill scored five points and Granger had four as the Pacers closed the first quarter with 13-6 run to take a 21-16 lead. Dahntay Jones and A.J. Price hit 3s and Lou Amundson had an alley-oop dunk as Indiana scored the first eight points of the second to stretch the lead to 13.
Hill's jumper at the buzzer gave Indiana a 51-37 lead at halftime.
NOTES: The Pacers led for the final 45:02 of the game. ... The first quarter got off to a sluggish start as both teams struggled with their shots. Over the first 9 minutes, the Pacers shot 39 percent and the Raptors 27 percent as the score was tied 10-10.
The Associated Press News Service
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