The road woes continue.
Danny Granger appeared rejuvenated to start the game without Ronnie Artest chasing him around and it showed from the opening tip. Granger scored 10 quick points in the first quarter hitting his first four shot attempts. He would continue to be the Pacers only offensive bright spot with 30 points through three quarters, but he wouldn't score again as the Blazers put the Pacers out of their misery early in the fourth quarter.
No other Pacer scored in double-figures, while Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge led a balanced attack for the Blazers who had five players in double-figures. The Blazers didn't play their best game of the season, but turned it on when they needed to to maintain control.
The Pacers on the other hand simply stunk once again on offense. When things started going south late in the first quarter there was nothing resembling an offensive attack.
Late in the first quarter, the Pacers half court offense had four players clear out to the right side, leaving Dahntay Jones with the ball. Jones pulled up for a 20-footer (with no one to rebound). He made the shot and was fouled. Nice outcome, but is this really what the team wants to run at the offensive end?
The offense didn't get much better from there. The first three possessions of the second quarter present a glaring example of the sloppy play that saw the Pacers finish with 18 turnovers and only 15 assists. At the half, those numbers were numbing, with 13 turnovers to 4 assists. It was that bad.
To open the second quarter, the ball was left in Luther Head's hands about 20 feet out on the the right side. WIthout his dribble and tightly covered, Luther was forced into multiple pump fakes before forcing up an off-balance shot while begging for a foul. Nothing.
On the next possession, Mike Dunleavy tried a cross-court pass that was easily swiped by Dante Cunningham. To complete the trifecta, Earl Watson travelled on the next possession after getting stuck on the left baseline with no one moving or available to help.
Later in the game there were several possessions that had T.J. Ford and Danny Granger simply dribbling until they were able to get a shot off. Another time I froze the picture when Murph had the ball around the free throw line, again trying to pump fake his way into getting a shot off. All four of his teammates were literally looking at him without moving a muscle.
Have to credit Portland's defense for disrupting whatever it was the Pacers were trying to do, but too often the Pacers made themselve easy to defend.
A few more thoughts after the jump.
- The Pacers went small, again using both Earl Watson and T.J. Ford at the guard position. With Brandon Roy in the mix the undersized back court was a bad matchup.
- The Pacers' turnovers hurt, but the Blazers 12 offensive rebounds were equally painful. Essentially adding up to 30 extra chances for Portland.
- Free throw differential was a factor tonight as well, helping the Blazers push ahead until they seized control in the second half. On the night, the Blazers were 25 of 30 from the line while the Pacers made a paltry 7 of 11.
- Mike Dunleavy continued his cold shooting, missing all of his 3-ball attempts including two really good, open looks in rhythm which simply bounced off the rim.
- Needless to say, the Pacers didn't show much energy or fight throughout the game. They better rest up on their day off tomorrow because the Denver Nuggets are looming on Friday. Won't get any easier.
- After a career-best night on Tuesday, Josh McRoberts didn't get off the bench until garbage time. A.J. Price also sat through some dreaded guard play before finally getting tapped late in the third quarter to play the rest of the game. Of course, he had to play shooting guard for awhile but minutes are minutes. Play the rook!