After taking a 46-point loss on the road in Toronto, the Pacers bounced back in a big way by beating Charlotte by 39 points on Tuesday. The drastic results in consecutive games has the Pacers back at ground zero looking to push forward in a positive direction as they face the Portland Trail Blazers at the Fieldhouse on Thursday night.
This game at this time in the year offers a big opportunity for the Pacers to reestablish their strong level of play after floundering throughout most of February. Adding to the importance of the Blazers’ visit is the fact that the game will mark a rare national TV appearance for the Pacers on the TNT Thursday double-header with Hall of Famer, Reggie Miller in the house to call the game.
The Thursday schedule is usually light allowing all eyes to be focused on the TNT broadcast and this week those eyes will be on the Pacers. We’ve noticed over the years how many a national writer uses these games to formulate their narrative on teams like the Pacers whom they actually don’t watch as often as they imply.
Hopefully, the atmosphere at the Fieldhouse will match the moment for the Pacers as they look to avenge a 139-129 loss to the Blazers in Portland back on Jan. 26. The Pacers played without Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon, but Portland was simply cooking. Damian Lillard hit the Pacers for 50 points that night, but the star guard for Portland has missed the last three games with a strained groin. He was expected to miss three or four games so the “or four” would be on Thursday. Regardless, it is unlikely Lillard will be in 100 percent, 50-burger shape for the Pacers.
Speaking of injuries, the Pacers will hope to have Victor Oladipo back, as well. Vic has missed the last 2.5 games with a sore back. The marquee matchup on TNT should have Vic giving his all to return on Thursday. The game has suddenly become important on a variety of levels and getting Vic back along with winning, would be a huge boost for the Pacers as they head down the stretch to maintain solid playoff positioning in the East.
You can buy tickets for the Trail Blazers game from StubHub here.
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