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INDIANAPOLIS – Two of the Pacers’ strengths this season are their bench and Victor Oladipo.

Both will want to forget how Monday night went against the Portland.

Poor shooting from Indiana (4-3) was the story all night long as they lost their first home game of the season, in a 103-93 loss to the Portland Trailblazers (4-2).  

“I thought we could have been more patient and got more ball reversal,” Nate McMillan said after the home loss. “I thought we settled. A lot of those shots were the first option, it wasn’t swing and you’re playing your third or fourth option. A lot of those shots were the first option. You come off a screen and see a little bit of daylight and you pull the trigger or you make one pass and you pull the trigger, as opposed to you throw it back and reverse it, get some weak side action going and you make them defend into your third or fourth option.

“We did that our last two games and we had wide open looks and we shot a high percentage.”

With Portland receiving an unusually quiet night from the NBA’s second leading scorer Damian Lillard (16 points), their bench was massive in the road victory.

The Trailblazers, who had to go 11 deep on Monday night due to early foul trouble, saw their bench outscore Indiana’s bench, 54-15.

It was an atypical performance from the Pacers’ reserves, which did have Tyreke Evans (5 points on 2-of-5 shooting) back after his one-game suspension.

Of course, Oladipo’s 9-of-24 night from the field didn’t help the Pacers shoot just 41.1 percent from the floor, a far cry from the 64.9{5cc93c20f90a32e13f8959d57682c5e5d5b1db216370168a8280434e1df7d759} number they had on Saturday night in a win over the Cavs.

Even though the Pacers played yet another game decided by double-figures, Nate McMillan’s team had a lead at halftime of 4 points on Monday.

But as the third quarter moved along, Portland slowly trimmed the Indiana lead, with their bench once again providing the necessary spark.

The Pacers tried to put themselves into their first real late-game experience of 2018, but any final quarter push was answered by the Trailblazers.

Despite major foul trouble in the Portland frontcourt, the Trailblazers outrebounded the Pacers by 15 on Monday night.

Portland has now won 8 of their last 9 meetings with Indiana.

 

Three Pacers’ Takeaways:

Bench Makes No Impact: This is not something that is expected to happen many times this season. But it did on Monday night with the Pacers getting 15 total points from the five bench players that saw action on Monday. Indiana came into Monday ranked 3rd in the NBA in bench scoing (44.7 points per game). Off the other bench, the Trailblazers received major bench production (54 points) to offset a sluggish beginning from the starters. Indiana’s starters were the ones that got the Pacers back into the lead during the second quarter though. When the reserves re-entered in the third quarter, that’s when the Trailblazers made another push to re-take the lead for good.

Shooting Issues All Night Long: It didn’t matter which part of the floor, the Pacers had a night to forget shooting the basketball. They were 6-of-19 from behind the arc (31.6 percent). Their poor foul shooting this season continued in going 13-of-20 (65.0 percent). And even their mid-range game was off, with the Pacers going 31-of-71 (43.6 percent) from inside the arc. Per usual, Nate McMillan was not happy with his team’s ball movement, although getting 19 assists on 37 made field goals is a decent ratio. One game after torching the nets in a win at Cleveland, the Pacers had one of the worst shooting nights we are likely to see for them at home this season.

 

Collison/Thad Provide Scoring: Let’s do note that the Pacers did receive some unusual scoring punch from two more complementary starters in Thaddeus Young (16 points on 6-of-13 shooting) and Darren Collison (17 points on 8-of-14 shooting). How both of these players would perform in contract years, late in their careers, was something to watch for the Pacers this season. Both had season-highs in points on Monday, while also providing some needed little things. When there’s talk of the Pacers using guys like Tyreke Evans or Domantas Sabonis late in games, names like Collison and Young are usually heading to the bench. But both of the veteran starters offered a welcomed scoring jolt on an otherwise poor shooting night for the Pacers.

 

Pacers Upcoming Schedule

-@New York (Wednesday, 10/31)

-@Chicago (Friday, 11/2)

-Boston (Saturday, 11/3)

-Houston (Monday, 11/5)

-Philadelphia (Wednesday, 11/7)