Toronto Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic gestures during the first...

Toronto Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic gestures during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Credit: AP/Doug McSchooler

INDIANAPOLIS — Toronto Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic promised his players a tasty reward when they finally strung together a three-game winning streak.

Now it’s time to pay up.

With All-Star Scottie Barnes logging his fourth triple-double of the season and RJ Barrett scoring 24 points in Monday night’s 130-122 victory, players responded to their longest winning streak of the season by chanting “piz-za.”

“I told them that when we won three straight I’d take them to dinner,” Rajakovic explained outside a joyous locker room. “But I told them this team’s so humble, we could have pizza.”

Whatever the meal preference, this young team again looked hungry — extending its post-All-Star break record to 3-0.

And it came with a pretty typical menu, too.

Barnes had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists on a night seven Raptors scored in double figures. Rookie Gradey Dick had 18 points and made two key 3s late to break open the game while matching his season-high with four 3s.

Toronto Raptors center Jakob Poeltl (19) shoots over the defense...

Toronto Raptors center Jakob Poeltl (19) shoots over the defense of Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Credit: AP/Doug McSchooler

“This is just the beginning,” Rajakovic said, referring to Dick. “He's going to have good games, he's going to have bad games, but he needs to continue winning in those situations, continue to learn and get better.”

Bennedict Mathurin kept the Pacers within reach by matching his career high with 34 points and nine rebounds. Two-time All-Star Pascal Siakam tormented his former team with 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Indiana acquired Siakam in a January trade.

But with the league's best shooting team and All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton having an off-night, the Pacers struggled. Haliburton had nine points and seven assists while going 2 of 11 from the field. The Pacers shot just 46% as a team.

And the defense, at least in the opinion of Mathurin, was even worse.

Toronto Raptors guard Ochai Agbaji (30) shoots while defended by...

Toronto Raptors guard Ochai Agbaji (30) shoots while defended by Indiana Pacers guard Ben Sheppard (26) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Credit: AP/Doug McSchooler

“Defense was our main thing and I'll go ahead say it, I was really bad on defense tonight,” said Mathurin, who drew the assignment on Barrett. “So I'm looking forward to the next game.”

Toronto built a 61-56 lead after a back-and-forth first half, and then watched Indiana score six straight in the third quarter to make it 67-66.

The Raptors answered with an 11-0 run, only to see the Pacers charge back within 90-87 at the end of three, tie it on Mathurin's 3 to open the fourth and eventually take a 96-95 lead on Jalen Smith's putback with 10:04 to go.

Instead of pulling away, the Pacers let Toronto hang around and Dick's tie-breaking 3 with 8:01 left spurred a 10-2 run that gave the Raptors a 112-104 lead and Indiana never seriously challenged again.

UP NEXT

Raptors: Begin a three-game home stand Wednesday night against Dallas.

Pacers: Close out a four-game home stand Wednesday night against New Orleans.

More NBA news

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME