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Pacers Links: Blazers too strong for average effort from Pacers

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Pacers hit speed bump on the road in Portland as hot Blazers showed up ready to win.

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The Indiana Pacers have certainly played worse in individual games this season, but what they brought to the Rose Garden on Thursday night was no match for the Portland Trail Blazers who showed up ready to end their six-game losing streak.

Portland played one of their best games of the season (not my words, theirs) which was fueled by their best shooting performance of the season. An impressive feat against the Pacers' league-leading defense which simply played like a middle-of-the-road defense as the shots continued to fall for Portland.

The Pacers continued to give the physical effort but much of that energy was misguided, spent chasing a five or ten-point play that didn't exist. The overt frustration from the blue and gold compounded into impatience at the offensive end hence the many offensive fouls and broken sets that left the Pacers chasing the Blazers all night.

Portland's stars, LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard rose up to lead the Blazers, with Aldridge making a will-killing 10 of 12 shots in the second and third quarter. Fortunately, seeing the Pacers give up such a high shooting percentage (56.4% is highest this year) and 100 points is quite rare with no indication of a developing trend. Instead a hat tip to the Blazers: well played.

The loss was costly in the standings, though as the Pacers dropped to fifth in the East after Brooklyn and Chicago both held on to win their games on Thursday. The Pacers have two days off before playing a similar team in the Utah Jazz in an equally tough road environment so it will be interesting to see how the Pacers respond on Saturday.

Today, the team will look for some good news when the All-Star reserves are announced.

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