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Raptors’ guards DeRozan, Lowry struggle again against Pacers defense, Indiana wins to even series 2-2

Toronto Raptors v Indiana Pacers - Game Four

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 23: Paul George #13 of the Indiana Pacers shoots the ball against the Toronto Raptors during game four of the 2016 NBA Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 23, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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Kyle Lowry was 4-of-12 shooting and missed every attempt he took from three.

DeMar DeRozan, blanketed again by Paul George, was 4-of-15 shooting and had six turnovers.

Once again the Raptors could not get their guards going, and this time Jonas Valanciunas did not get enough post touches to bail the team out. While this game was not pretty there was enough Monta Ellis early for the Pacers and the Georges — Paul George and George Hill — the rest of the way, and the Pacers picked up a comfortable 100-83 win.

The series is now 2-2, a best of three, headed back to Toronto for Game 5.

Each game in this series has seen one side be just sloppy and mentally out of it. Maybe by Game 5 of the playoffs both sides can show up with sharp focus.

Maybe back home the Raptors can find better shooting from their guard duo, who have struggled this series against a strong Pacers’ defense. DeRozan is 16-of-52 the last three games, and while he keeps saying he’s just missing shots we all know George’s defense is at the heart of the guard’s issues. DeRozan is becoming frustrated, and it’s leading to poor shot selection and turnovers that are hurting the team.

Lowry has struggled with his shot but still been a playmaker in other games in this series, but not this one. He and the entire team were missing threes — Toronto was 8-of-30 as a team. Also, due to Lowry’s foul trouble, he was not aggressive guarding Hill, who went off for 22 Pacers points.

The question I have for the Raptors is simply why did Valanciunas — who has been fantastic in this matchup — only get seven shot attempts? He made six of them.

One of the keys for the Pacers in this series is getting players other than George to contribute — Indiana got that Saturday. Despite a sore back, Ian Mahinmi had an unexpected 22 points plus grabbed 10 rebounds. Hill had 22 points — he’s been a real barometer for this team and he was aggressive in Game 4. George had 17 points.

The Pacers got what they wanted this game — balanced scoring to go with their strong defense. What they have not been able to do is get all that consistently. Now they just need it two out of the next three games.