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Pacers final score: Pacers defense falters against Blazers

Indiana was a few steps slow defensively, resulting in a 131-109 loss to Portland. Jeff Teague led the Pacers with 25.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Any positives the Indiana Pacers and their defense had built over recent games was absent in the start of their Western road trip against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers lit up the Pacers from all areas of the floor, shooting nearly 70% as a team in the early parts of the third quarter.

Portland built a double figure lead in the first half thanks to scorching three point shooting, hitting 8-12 attempts in the first half and finishing with 12 on the night. Portland also made much of their offense work by being a threat in the paint, scoring 58, including 14 offensive rebounds to Indiana’s four, with second chance points helping keep the Blazers afloat early when the Pacers squandered opportunities to build an early lead.

The Pacers would cut a 28-point deficit to 13 in the fourth, but Damian Lillard coupled with the Pacers running out of fuel late kept the Pacers from ever getting closer. Lillard led six double figure scorers for an eight-man rotation for the Blazers, showing how poorly the Pacers did to slow down anyone. Seven Blazers would also hit a three-pointer.

Jeff Teague led the Pacers with 25 points, shooting 12 free throws, but despite having five double figure scorers of their own, Indiana’s own offensive output wasn’t good enough against the league worst Blazers defense to make up for their lack of effort on the defensive end. Myles Turner had a 19 point, 10 rebound double double and Glenn Robinson III shot well early as part of his 15 point night. Aaron Brooks (16 points) and Al Jefferson (12) also reached double figures.

Ultimately, the frustrating part of tonight’s game wasn’t that they lost; Indiana has now lost eight straight games in Portland, but it was in how they betrayed their own recent success by allowing themselves to get outworked in effort for three quarters. The Blazers had 13 steals to Indiana’s three, going to show just which team came ready to play.

The Pacers have another long layoff before continuing their road trip against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. Indiana needs to bring back the effort they had against these same Clippers last Sunday in hopes of improving on their 1-6 road record, but they will face a much more focused Clippers team than they just beat.