Raptors rout Pacers after long game delay due to fire at Scotiabank Arena


Pascal Siakam had 23 points, while Scottie Barnes added 19 and the Toronto Raptors crushed the Indiana Pacers 131-91 on Saturday, in a game suspended for 70 minutes due to a fire in a loudspeaker at the Scotiabank Arena.

Play resumed with no fans in the building.

The Raptors led 66-38 when the game was suspended with 4:05 left in the first half. The fans were evacuated, the teams headed to the locker rooms, and after the Toronto Fire Department deemed it safe to continue, the players did a 10-minute warm-up and the game resumed.

Precious Achiuwa added 18 points for Toronto (42-32), which moved up to fifth in the Eastern Conference with Chicago’s win over Cleveland on Saturday. OG Anunoby finished with 16, Chris Boucher contributed with 15 and Thaddeus Young scored 11.

Fred VanVleet, who is suffering from a knee injury, did not return after the long break from play.

WATCH | Raptors and Pacers game suspended due to fire:

Fans forced to evacuate Raptors-Pacers game due to fire, play suspended

Scotiabank Arena spectators were forced out of the building after a loudspeaker caught fire. The game was late in the 2nd quarter when the call was made. 0:57

Former Raptor and Toronto native Oshae Brissett led the Pacers (25-50) with 21 points, while Justin Anderson finished with 18.

With just eight games left in the regular season and the Raptors battling for a playoff berth, finishing the game after the fire delay was crucial for Toronto.

The Raptors have already clinched at least one play-in spot, but would prefer a top-six spot in the Eastern Conference to avoid that long road to the playoffs. Chicago’s victory saw the Raptors take possession of fifth place, with a game against Cleveland.

Indiana has been knocked out of the playoffs before, and while the Raptors have lost plenty of games to bad teams this season, their 20-point first-quarter lead on Saturday hinted that wasn’t going to happen.

WATCH | Raptors rout Pacers after delay:

Raptors ride to win over Pacers after long delay

Fans were forced to evacuate Scotiabank Arena minutes before half-time due to a small fire. Both teams resumed play to an empty hall more than an hour later, where Toronto came away with a 131-91 victory. 0:52

The Raptors led by 29 points in the second quarter and took that to 35 points when Boucher hit a three-pointer with 7:07 remaining. Raptors coach Nick Nurse sank deep into his bench to play out the remainder of the rout.

The empty arena was a backdrop the Raptors knew all too well, having played for several weeks in front of no fans after the latest wave of COVID-19 in the fall saw strict crowd restrictions in Ontario.

The first sign that something was wrong was when fans noticed smoke at the east end of the arena. The video showed a loudspeaker in flames. One section was evacuated, then another, as firefighters stood in the empty section staring at the ceiling. Two firefighters with extinguishers were eventually lowered from the ceiling in harnesses to put out the fire.

Play was suspended between the Toronto Raptors and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday as firefighters in the background first evacuated a section of fans from their seats after it was reported that a loudspeaker had taken fire during first half NBA action in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

A timeout was finally called and Toronto Fire Services met PA announcer Herbie Kuhn who asked fans to evacuate which was met with boos from the crowd of 19,800 .

The Raptors said all tickets would be refunded to the point of purchase within 30 days.

Pacers coach Lloyd Pierce said before the game that Brissett asked for plenty of tickets for family and friends in Toronto, and he gave them something to cheer about, scoring 11 of the Pacers’ first 16 points in the game. . But the rout was already underway. Siakam and Anunoby combined for 21 first-quarter points for the Raptors, who shot 68% in frame. The Raptors finished the quarter with a 13-0 run to lead 41-21 to start the second.

The Pacers couldn’t close the gap to less than 19 points before halftime. The teams played the final four minutes of the first half and then broke for the shortened half by 7.5 minutes, with Toronto comfortably ahead 74-46.

The Raptors play all but two — Orlando and New York — of their last home games. They host Boston on Monday and Minnesota on Wednesday.