(Indianapolis, IN) – The Indiana Pacers (9-7|6-5) would struggle at home against the Portland Trail Blazers (5-2|3-7), eventually falling to Portland 114-110.
The Indiana Pacers went into their game against the Trail Blazers hoping that their good defensive effort against the Pistons on Friday was a sign of them turning a corner on that side of the ball. Instead, they would see a repeat of the defensive struggles that have plagued them all season. Obi Toppin and Tyrese Haliburton would open the game with a pair of 3’s, but their defense would allow the Trail Blazers to score 14 points in less than 4 minutes of play. The Pacers offense would continue to play well however; Haliburton would put up 8 points in 7 minutes, including a pair of 3’s, with Buddy Hield also adding a 3 pointer of his own. For the Blazers, Deandre Ayton led the way with 12 points. The Pacers would lead at the end of the period by a score of 34-30.
The Trail Blazers would take the lead in the opening seconds of the period on a pair of 3’s by Malcolm Brogdon and Duop Reath. The Pacers would struggle on offense in the first few minutes of the period, allowing the Blazers to jump out to a 43-37 lead. The Pacers would battle back, getting out of the offensive slump to retake the lead with about 4 minutes left in the half. The two teams would swap leads, before the Blazers would pull out to a 65-60 lead at the break. Malcolm Brogdon lead the way for Portland with 15 points, followed by Deandre Ayton with 14. For Indiana, Haliburton would have an outstanding half with 20 points and 4 assists, followed by Myles Turner with 8.
The Pacers would continue to struggle defensively, as the Blazers opened the 2nd half with Ayton, Brogdon, Jerami Grant and Toumani Camara all getting on the board. Shaedon Sharpe would open up the biggest lead of the night for the Blazers when his layup put them out in front 77-70 with 7:51 remaining. Rick Carlisle would continue to look for a spark, evidence by the rare sight of Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard all being on the court at the same time. Jalen Smith would help the Pacers keep up with a 3-pointer, before exiting the game and heading to the locker room with what appeared to be an ankle injury. The Pacers would only be 6 of 18 from the floor with about 3 and a half minutes left in the period; they would battle back however and tie the game up at 81 a piece with about a minute left, before Mathurin would give them their first lead of the period. The two teams would head into the final period tied at 83.
The Pacers and Trail Blazers would continue to go back-and-forth to start the 4th quarter. The Pacers would continue to keep it close, but the shooting of Jerami Grant would continue to be an issue, as he would continue to hit 3’s. The Pacers would find themselves down by 6 with 2 minutes left in the game. Aaron Nesmith would cut the lead in half with a late 3, but the Jerami Grant would respond immediately with a layup to extend the lead back to 5. Clutch shots by Tyrese Haliburton and Bruce Brown in the final minute would pull the Pacers within 2, before Brogdon would put the game away with a layup with 5 seconds remaining. The Pacers fall to the Trail Blazers 114-110.
The Pacers were led by Tyrese Haliburton, who put up 33 points, 2 rebounds and 9 assists. This was the 5th time Haliburton has gone over 30 points this season. Myles Turner, Bruce Brown and Bennedict Mathurin would each add 11 points for Indiana as well. For Portland, Jerami Grant was electric, as he had 34 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Former Pacer Malcolm Brogdon would add 24, while Deandre Ayton would put up 22.
- The Pacers struggled offensively throughout the game, especially from beyond the arc. They would finish having only made 8 of their 33 3-point attempts, only good for 24.2%.
- The Pacers out-rebounded the Trail Blazers 42-38. This had been an area Indiana had struggled with throughout the season.
- The Trail Blazers, who entered with one of the worst offenses in the NBA, would connect on 50% of their 3-point attempts, finishing 9 of 18.
- The loss drops the Pacers to 9-7 on the season, while the Trail Blazers improve to 5-12.
The Pacers get a few days off, as their next game comes on Thursday when they travel to Miami for the first of back-to-back games against the Heat. The Kroger Pregame begins at 7:00pm, with tipoff from Miami set for 7:30pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan!
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