Fatigue, cold-shooting and sloppy ball-handling took a heavy toll on the Indiana Pacers.
So did Rudy Gay and Amir Johnson.
Playing in only his fourth game for the Toronto Rapors since being acquired in a Jan. 30 trade, Gay sank a 15-foot jumper with 1.7 seconds remaining to lift the visiting Raptors to a 100-98 win Friday night against the Pacers.
Gay’s shot put the finishing touch on an improbable finish that saw his teammate, Johnson, tie the game at the buzzer following a bad in-bounds by Indiana’s David West. More on that in a moment.
Playing their fourth game in five nights, the Pacers (31-20) saw their home winning streak end at 16 games. They entered on a five-game winning streak overall.
The Pacers’ problems started in the fourth quarter. They led 72-64 heading in but missed their first eight shots to surrender the lead, 74-72, with just over seven minutes remaining.
Paul George scored Indiana’s first basket of the period, a 3-pointer, at the 7:01 mark. Although the score remained close through the end of regulation, the Pacers appeared to have the game won with 10 seconds to play.
But they didn’t.