'I know what he's capable of': Kelan Martin boosts Pacers in rout of Raptors

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  • Kelan Martin
    Kelan Martin
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  • Myles Turner
    Myles Turner
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  • Scottie Barnes
    Scottie Barnes
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Nov 26, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Kelan Martin (21) celebrates a basket in the first half against the Toronto Raptors at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Kelan Martin (21) celebrates a basket in the first half against the Toronto Raptors at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — Myles Turner will never forget the agony Kelan Martin put him through. The scars are still there.

"I've been playing against Kelan since high school. He hit a game-winner on us in high school, and I remember it like it was yesterday," Turner said. "And then, obviously, he knocked me out in the first round (of the 2015 NCAA Tournament) when he was at Butler and I was at Texas, so I know what he's capable of. I've seen it for a long time now, and now that he's getting his opportunity, it's dope to see it all come to fruition for him."

It's been over six years since Martin helped end Turner's college career, but on Friday they were two of seven Pacers who scored in double figures during a 114-97 rout of the Raptors at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Martin checked in for Torrey Craig at the 9:56 mark of the second quarter, and although he missed his first three shots, he wasn't deterred.

The third-year guard kept shooting and made his next five attempts, four layups and one 3-pointer. Martin's 11-point second-quarter surge helped Indiana take control of the game and defeat Toronto for the first time in three tries this season.

Martin was not made available to the media after the win, but his teammates and coach made sure to acknowledge him.

"He's not one to get discouraged," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said of Martin's quick turnaround Friday. "Kelan is an aggressive player by nature. He scored over 2,000 points at Butler, second all-time leading scorer. ... This is a guy that a lot of people had written off coming into this year as a guy that could contribute, make a difference. And from the very beginning of September when guys started filtering in, I really liked his game. He shoots the ball easy, (he's) physical, deceptively athletic and he has an edge."

Martin finished with 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 23 minutes, and he also made his presence felt on defense. He guarded Pascal Siakam, arguably the Raptors' second best player during their title run in 2018-19, and Rookie of the Year candidate Scottie Barnes on several occasions and held his own against both.

Siakam and Barnes each scored 17 points on 7-of-17 and 5-of-9 shooting, respectively.

"I think defensively he put his imprint on the game, guarding those guys, Siakam, the young fella Scottie Barnes," teammate Caris LeVert said. "Kelan has a big body, and he used his body well. He defended those guys on the perimeter and then when they got to spinning and doing their counter moves he stayed in front of them pretty well. And then offensively he did what Kelan does. He scored the ball, and he was efficient."

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LeVert, who's been working his way back from a back injury, had 19 points and three 3s and tied his season-high with 34 minutes.

"I felt good. The minutes felt great," LeVert said. "My body feels good so it'll be important to continue the recovery and the treatment going into this back-to-back."

Indiana hosts Giannis Antetokounmpo and the defending champion Bucks on Sunday and play at Minnesota on Monday.

Domantas Sabonis had another ho-hum performance Friday with 23 points and a game-high 18 rebounds against Toronto. Malcolm Brogdon orchestrated the offense with 11 points and a game-high 12 assists.

Friday marked the fifth consecutive game in which at least five Pacers players reached double digits in scoring. The team is 4-0 this season when Martin scores in double figures, and he was a game-high plus-20 against the Raptors.

"He did a great job playing off the ball," Sabonis said. " ... I feel like he did a great job cutting, getting open, believing in our pace, action and that really got us going."

Indiana held Toronto to a 7-of-30 display from behind the arc and was 11-of-39 on its 3-point attempts. Turner scored 17 points and tied LeVert for the team-high with three 3s, while the teammate who twice broke his heart, Martin, made one 3-pointer.

So, despite the lingering pain of that last-second loss in high school and season-ending loss in college, has Turner finally forgiven Martin?

"I feel like at this stage you kind of have to," Turner said, laughing. "But that's my guy, man. I'm happy that he's out here just hoopin'. He deserves it."

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Pacers vs. Raptors: Kelan Martin gives boost off bench in Indiana win

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