The Pacers logged another frustrating loss to the Trail Blazers on Thursday night. The final score reads 88-82 and it was indeed a close game throughout, but the Pacers just couldn't get over the hump down the stretch to actually give themselves a chance to win.
Frank Vogel was happy with the defense following the game, as was Blazers coach Terry Stotts, but in reality the low score was a combo of solid D and poor shooting by both squads. Too many open looks missed on both sides to give all of the credit to the D. For instance, C.J. Miles and C.J. Watson both missed good, open looks in the second half after each recieved the ball with no intention of shooting, but were so open they couldn't pass up the shot. Both shots bounced, but maybe that's just a C.J. thing.
Regardless, it was a game played on the Pacers' terms but they couldn't find a way to win it down the stretch. So while there is certainly no shame in losing on the road in Portland, the frustrating losses continue to mount.
Donald Sloan DNP'd with Rodney Stuckey starting at point guard. The adjusted starting lineup stumbled out of the gate and with Chris Copeland added for Sloan, doesn't appear to be the answer. Cope has to give you something on O to stay on the floor and didn't deliver against the Blazers. To Vogel's credit, he gave Damjan Rudez some run and stuck with him when he was making plays in the second half.
Lavoy Allen also DNP'd for the second time even with Ian Mahinmi struggling during his time on the floor. After making such a positive impact earlier in the season and appearing to be blossoming into a strong, front-court utility man, Allen now has to wait for an injury or foul trouble to get some filler time or worse, more losses through the tough December schedule which forces Vogel to try something new.
The Pacers catch a little break in Sacramento on Friday when they play the Kings minus DeMarcus Cousins.
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