INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George scored 17 of his 23 points in the third quarter and the Indiana Pacers beat the Toronto Raptors 91-84 Friday night to improve to 6-0 and match the best start in franchise history.
Roy Hibbert added a season-high 20 points and seven rebounds as the Pacers remained the NBA’s lone undefeated team.
Rudy Gay scored a season-high 30 points on 12 of 26 shooting for the Raptors, who lost their third in a row to fall to 2-4. Amir Johnson added 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Raptors shot 39.5 percent from the field, becoming the sixth consecutive opponent Indiana has held to 40 percent shooting or worse.
The Pacers improved to 6-0 for the first time since the 1970-71, when the club played in the ABA. They rallied from a halftime deficit for the fifth time this season. Indiana overcame 16 turnovers to shoot 46.2 percent.
George made an arcing 3 over a leaping Landry Fields at the third-quarter buzzer and clinched his fists in celebration before sprinting to Indiana’s bench and slapping hands with teammates. George bounced back from a five-point first half to outscore the Raptors 17-13 in the period. He shot 5 of 9 from the field and made all five free throws. The Pacers led 72-59 entering the fourth quarter.
Gay carried the Raptors to a 46-44 halftime lead, scoring 22 points. No teammate scored more than six in the half. Toronto used a 19-7 run over the final 5:17 of the first quarter to lead 32-22. The Raptors had success running with nine fast-break points in the period but failed to earn another until late in the game.
The Pacers got back in transition and kept Toronto off the 3-point line in the second quarter to get back in the game. Orlando Johnson had five points and an assist in a 12-0 Pacers run early in the second quarter that tied it at 34. Hibbert’s fallaway 18-footer at the halftime buzzer completed a 5-2 spurt.
Indiana started the second half on a 10-0 run and led by as many as 16 in the fourth quarter before finishing off its fourth home victory.
NOTES: George Hill returned after missing three games with a sore left hip. C.J. Watson scored 33 points in three games starting in Hill’s place. . Pacers forward Danny Granger, who has yet to play this season because of a strained left calf, may return to practice next week. . The Raptors won both visits to Bankers Life Fieldhouse last season. . Pacers guard Lance Stephenson limped off the floor in the first minute of the second quarter with a sore left knee but returned to start the second half.