The Trail Blazers Jan. 14 matchup against the Indiana Pacers is the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. The second matchup is slated for the Second Half of the season.
Portland is coming off a second-straight come-from-behind victory with its 132-126 win over the Kings in Sacramento Wednesday.
Thursday’s contest marks the first back-to-back for the Trail Blazers.
After being one of four teams involved in the James Harden blockbuster trade Wednesday, it will be interesting to see how the Pacers respond.
Indiana acquired Caris LeVert in the deal as they shipped out All-Star Victor Oladipo to Houston. The trade has not yet become official.
As the Pacers get set to take on the Blazers, Indiana has listed Goga Bitadze (right ankle; sprain), Brian Bowen II (left groin; partial tear) and Jalen Lecque (left ankle; sprain) as doubtful. Jeremy Lamb (left knee; torn ACL), Victor Oladipo (not with team) and T.J. Warren (left foot; stress fracture) are out.
Following Wednesday's win over the Kings, our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes discussed the elite numbers posted by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum:
Portland’s dynamic backcourt overwhelmed Sacramento in a contest that featured a combined 42 made three-point field goals -- the most in the league this season and second-most in the history of the NBA.
And as you may have guessed by now, the Blazers sank 23 threes, four more than their opponents.
The Trail Blazers fell behind by 20 points in the first half but cut the lead to three at the half. But then they fell back by 19 in the third quarter -- and rallied back the same way as in the first half, with an avalanche of threes.
And it’s all part of this season’s master plan. Coach Terry Stotts has said for a year now that he wants his team to shoot more threes.
“Coach has been emphasizing we need to get more threes up,” Damian Lillard said. “It is becoming a three-point shooting league more and more each year. And if you don't shoot enough of them are you gonna have a hard time winning the game. If you don't shoot a lot of them, you won't have a chance to make a lot of them.
“They shot a better percentage, but we continued to penetrate and pitch and take those open shots. I think it really helped us that we were creating high-quality looks. We got penetration. We were kicking it out for threes and if we kicked it out and they closed out, we were making that extra pass.
“Gary Trent had a lot of extra swings tonight that people won't realize, because he made a lot of threes tonight. But he swung a lot of them where he could have shot -- and that led to even better, or higher quality, threes.
“And I think that's what it came down to: we produced high-quality threes tonight. We didn't pass up any, we just took them. We just kept firing.
“I think because we did that, we were able to, you know, erase those leads. There wasn't, you know, eight, nine minutes to fight back and cut it to eight. It was like, we were down 20 and we were cutting it to seven pretty fast.
“You know -- bang, bang, bang, timeout.
“The threes that we created, with penetration and making the extra pass and trusting each other, really paid off for us.”
Did it ever. The 20-point Kings' lead in the second quarter was slashed to 11 in just 1:13 after three straight threes. The 19-point Sacramento edge in the third period was trimmed to nine in just 1:58.
Read more here.
The Blazers are -2.5 point favorites against the Pacers, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about the Portland and Indiana matchup --
- LAST SEASON: The Trail Blazers and Pacers split the season series in 2019-20, 1-1. Portland has won 10 of the last 12 matchups with Indiana, dating back to the 2014-15 season.
- Damian Lillard scored 50 points (14-23 FG, 8-12 3-PT, 14-16 FT) to go with six rebounds, 13 assists and one steal against Indiana on Jan. 26, 2020.
- In two games against the Pacers last season, CJ McCollum averaged 28.0 points (45.8% FG, 42.9% 3-PT, 100% FG), 2.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists.
- Domantas Sabonis averaged 23.5 points (59.4% FG, 81.8% FT), 12.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists in two games against the Trail Blazers last season, including a 27 point, 14 rebound, 11 assist triple-double on January 26th.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: -2.5 (-105) – Pacers: +2.5 (-105)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Thursday, January 14
Where: Moda Center | Portland, OR
Start time: 7:00 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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