Valančiūnas’ 23 points and 15 rebounds made him the Raptors’ strongest scorer and rebounder for the night, with a final score of 98-87. This was also the strongest playoffs performance of Valančiūnas’ career.
His teammate, Kyle Lowry, said Valančiūnas has become “an integral part” of Toronto’s offense. “He’s playing fantastic. He’s rolling hard, he’s rebounding the ball extremely well. When teams are trying to take myself and DeMar out, he’s got to have big games for us.”
“We’ve all got to step up,” said Valančiūnas. “It’s not an individual sport. Some nights are tough for Kyle, some nights it’s tough for DeMar, tough for me. Everybody has tough times, so everybody has got to pull for each other.”
The Pacers’ Paul George, who netted an impressive 28 points despite the loss, said Valančiūnas had taken a leading role in the game, which was the Raptors’ first playoff win siince April 30, 2014. “He’s been huge, literally. We’re doing a good job on Kyle and DeMar but the third guy, Valančiūnas, has stepped up. He’s who is causing us the problems right now and we’ve got to figure it out.”