Both the Portland Trail Blazers and the Indiana Pacers are in a difficult position. These teams are currently in the play-in tournament zone, slightly below the spots that lead directly to the playoffs. Before the campaign started, the respective goals of these franchises were to reach the postseason (maybe even make some noise in the same), and currently, this mission is not close to its fulfilling. The Blazers are in the hole, collapsing at the moment when they shouldn’t, while on the other side, the Pacers had a rough season and are now trying to make the final push to save what can be saved.
Portland Trail Blazers (32-28, -167) are in the middle of the meltdown, having lost five consecutive matches and a seed that leads directly to the postseason. But to make it even worse, the four latest defeats all came at home, two of them against the Grizzlies against whom played in back-to-back matches.
After 130-128 in the first match, the Blazers lost the second 120-113, mostly due to their poor field goal percentage, 39-for-105, or 37.1%. The best player on the field was CJ McCollum with 27 points, while Damian Lillard scored 23 with six boards and five assists, shooting 8-for-27. Jusuf Nurkic had 16 points and 19 boards.
The problem for the Blazers was the inefficient bench, with six players who replaced the starters, delivering 28 points combined.
Indiana Pacers (29-31, +138) had a lot of bad luck throughout the season, and everything possible went bad for them. At the moment, the Pacers are playing without their best player, Domantas Sabonis. Besides the All-Star big man, they have TJ Warren, Goga Bitadza, Myles Turner, and Jeremy Lamb unavailable for this event.
A bit easier schedule allowed them to post three wins, which kept their direct playoff hopes alive. After taking down the OKC Thunder and the Detroit Pistons at home, Indiana was better than the Orlando Magic on the road, 131-112.
Malcolm Brogdon was the man in charge of everything with 24 points, 9 assists, and 8 boards. Jrue Holiday and Doug McDermott were good off the bench, with 20 and 16 points, respectively, while Edmond Sumner added 21 with seven boards. Also, Caris LeVert scored 18.
Head to Head Games
Indiana demolished Portland at the start of the season, midway through January. The Pacers defeated the Trail Blazers at Moda Center 111-97, having one marvelous performance. Even though the guests hit nine threes, they outscored Portland 62-28 inside the paint. Brogdon had 25 points, Sabonis 23, while McDermott scored 16. McCollum and Lillard posted each 22 points.
The Trail Blazers’ schedule had been nasty over a recent couple of matches. Clippers, Nuggets, Grizzlies, Miami, Boston, etc., all these teams are much better than the Pacers. Plus, if you saw Portland’s latest defeats, all of them were pretty narrow, and Terry Stotts’ team didn’t play badly at all. They just didn’t have enough luck in certain moments. On the other side, we have Indiana with three wins in a row, but against pretty weak rivals, without several indispensable players. After all said here, we will back up the franchise from Portland to win Tuesday’s match.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.