TORONTO — The Indiana Pacers have turned into one of the NBA's premier teams by playing a physical, swarming brand of basketball.
But the way Pacers guard George Hill saw it, his team got beat at its own game by the red-hot Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points, Kyle Lowry had 13 points and a season-high 14 assists and the Raptors extended their season-best winning streak to four games, beating the Pacers 95-82.
"They played better than us tonight," Hill said. "Normally we come out and have a tremendous third and fourth quarter but tonight, they hit first.
"We're normally a team that hits first," Hill said. "We're a smash mouth team. They came in and brought the pressure and turned us over more than we're normally getting turned over. They initiated it."
Terrence Ross scored 18 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 13 points and nine rebounds as the Raptors (15-15) snapped Indiana's five-game winning streak and improved to .500 after 30 games for the first time since Jan. 6, 2010.
"It's a great win," Lowry said. "We're executing our game plan and we're locked in."
The Raptors have won eight of 10 games since Dec. 13, when the majority of the players acquired from Sacramento in the Rudy Gay deal made their Toronto debuts.
"This is a team that's getting better," Indiana's Paul George said of the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors. "They have a lot of confidence and they're playing like it."
DeRozan said the Raptors have been working to improve their toughness so they can play the kind of physical style that Indiana has perfected.
"We're going to go out there and battle with the best of them," DeRozan said. "We don't care who is out there in front of us, we understand that they are going to throw a punch and we're going to throw punches back."