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Triano gets first win as Raptors pound Pacers

Dec 11, 2008 - 5:17 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- It took four tries, but Jay Triano finally got his first win as an NBA head coach.

Jason Kapono scored a season-high 25 points and Chris Bosh added 21 and 10 boards as the Toronto Raptors snapped a five-game skid with a 101-88 triumph over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

Triano took over at the helm last week for the fired Sam Mitchell, but the Raptors stumbled to three more losses as their offensive struggles continued. But they improved in all facets in this one, utilizing a balanced scoring effort and a stifling defense that held the Pacers to just 35 percent (33-of-95) shooting.

"I'm really happy for our guys because they have tried to adjust and make changes to what they have been doing, and I think we are slowly getting there," Triano said. "It wasn't perfect again tonight, but at least we had a system tonight and guys are rewarded with it."

Kapono got his first started of the year in place of regular starter Anthony Parker, who was out with a sprained ankle. He took full advantage of the opportunity, burying 11-of-16 shots, including three 3-pointers.

"As a starter, you can get into a rhythm and a flow quicker," Kapono said. "You know that you are going to play more minutes. You don't have to worry if you start off slow or miss a couple of shots."

The 6-8 swingman helped give the Raptors control of the game early in the third quarter. With the game tied, 51-51, Kapono knocked down a 3-pointer to snap the tie and spark a 16-2 run. Kapono then found Bosh for a 17-footer a few seconds later and Jamario Moon - who tied a career high with 17 points - followed with a 3-pointer of his own to extend the lead to 59-53.

"It was a big game for him, he needed that," Raptors point guard Jose Calderon said. "He shot the ball well and he did a lot of things well."

Kapono added a 16-foot jumper to push the lead to eight and the Pacers never got any closer than six the rest of the way.

Toronto had gone eight straight games without reaching the 100-point mark but officially snapped that streak on Moon's bucket with 59 seconds to play.

"It's very frustrating because were missing open shots," Indiana forward Danny Granger said. "We just missed a lot of gimmes and easy layups. I missed some and T.J. (Ford) missed some. We had looks, we just didn't make them."

Bosh got back on track after a nine-point showing in Tuesday's loss to Cleveland and Calderon dished out 14 assists.

Raptors center Jermaine O'Neal - who spent the last eight seasons with the Pacers before being dealt this offseason - collected 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

O'Neal's addition was one of the primary reasons why upper management expected big things of the Raptors this season but, thus far, they have not delivered. A 39-point loss at the hands of the Denver Nuggets on December 2 paved the way for Mitchell's dismissal and Triano's promotion.

However, Triano - who became the first Canadian-born coach in league history - had to immediately suffer through his own struggles, as the team endured blowout losses to both the Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers during his first few days on the job.

"He's been in a tough situation where he's been trying to change some things we've been doing without much practice time," O'Neal said. "He's been extremely positive and this win is well-deserved and I'm happy for him."

Indiana, which has now lost four in a row following an upset victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, was led by Troy Murphy's 20-point, 20-rebound effort. The Pacers have lost nine of 11 overall and this week have shown little of the spark that propelled them to a last-second triumph over the perceived best team in the league just eight days ago.

They have lost their last four games by an average margin of 15 points and have scored 96 points or less in three of those games - including a paltry 73-point showing in Friday's loss to Cleveland.

The team got little production from its point-guard tandem of T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack, who combined for just six points on 3-of-15 shooting while handing out just eight total assists.

"We didn't play a really strong game, other than Troy Murphy who played a really strong game," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "To their credit, they outplayed us. It was good for coach Triano to get his first win and I congratulate him on that."