The Indiana Pacers fell behind early, but it was cold shooting, costly turnovers, and poor defense that really put them on the ropes against the Portland Trail Blazers in the second quarter. Indiana would fight hard in the third quarter, but were left treading water against LaMarcus Aldridge. They could only chip away at one point in that third quarter, as Portland stormed out in the fourth quarter to put the game to rest.
The Pacers had opportunities in the fourth when the shooting finally started finding the bottom of the net, but their inability to get stops didn't improve. Indiana shot just 35% for a majority of the game, warming up to 38% by the close, while allowing Portland to shoot 56%. Aldridge and Damian Lillard led the way for the Blazers at different points, and Indiana's inability to keep up with them hurt them to no end. Aldridge finished with 27 and Lillard pitched in 20.
Indiana's biggest crutch came with costly turnovers, getting whistled for seven offensive fouls over the course of the game, each killing any momentum the Pacers might've been building. They didn't play well defensively, not only in allowing Portland to shoot well, but had just two blocks on the night, getting outscored 26-15 in points off turnovers despite winning the turnover battle.
David West carried the Pacers in the third, and Paul George's offense gave the Pacers some gasps in the fourth, but each scoring 20 wasn't enough to keep pace. Lillard had just four points at halftime, a concern for the Pacers 12 point deficit that him waking up would cause problems for Indiana's comeback and it did just that. West and George shot 16-34 from the floor, but just couldn't get any consistent help.
Roy Hibbert had a fast start, but was limited after that, finishing with nine and seven, including no blocks for just the third time this season. Ian Mahinmi offered some nice offensive minutes off the bench with eight, but his defensive struggles were in line with the team's struggles. George Hill had 11 on 5-13 shooting, and Lance Stephenson had a very poor game with two points. Tonight's game just got away from Indiana. They had no answer for Portland's offense, struggled against Portland's defense, and the final score ended up looking a lot closer to how the game actually felt for most of the night. Portland felt the pressure to end their six game streak, and Indiana didn't have the same urgency.
The Pacers will drop to 1-1 on their West Coast trip, up next facing the Utah Jazz on Saturday night. They still have the chance to come away with a successful trip, but with most Eastern Conference rivals grabbing wins tonight, the loss stings and will drop the Pacers to fourth in the East tonight, pulling them to a tie with the Bulls for the Central Division lead.