The Pacers are in Portland no doubt still shaking their collective heads after letting a potential big win on the road in Denver slip away in the second half.
After an 18-point lead dwindled to three before the half, the Pacers came out and mustered only 15 third-quarter points. All that was easy early on, suddenly stumbled and staggered the Pacers into chasing from behind. Such lapses are always lethal for the Pacers who don’t play with the margin of error to overcome poor play at any point in the game, or as Nate McMillan puts it, not put together a full 48 minutes.
With opportunity lost and now left on the side of the road, the Pacers find a Blazers team that also lost on Saturday, in San Antonio, but even worse, lost their starter shooting guard, C.J. McCollum to a knee injury. McCollum’s prognosis is not as bad as feared at the time of the injury but his 21-plus points per game will not be in the lineup against the Pacers.
At least that levels the playing field a bit, but Portland has been a house of horrors for the Pacers. In fact, the Pacers have lost their last nine (9!!!) games at Portland. The last win was early in the 2007-08 season when Nate McMillan and Kevin Pritchard were on the other side of the matchup and the Pacers won 95-89. Danny Granger lead the Pacers with 23 points, while Jamaal Tinsley added 15 points and 10 assists (one of three double-doubles).
At the time, it was the Pacers fourth consecutive win in Portland, so maybe the Pacers can start another winning streak at PDX with a big effort tonight.
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