Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs. Trail Blazers
SCOUTING THE PACERS: Indiana (16-23) is halfway through a four-game trip and lost its third straight overall Wednesday, falling 110-108 to Golden State on Monta Ellis' last-second shot over Brandon Rush. The Pacers led by as many as 11 points but were done in by 20 turnovers. Indiana committed 18 turnovers in a 102-79 loss at Portland on March 3 in the teams' last meeting as the Blazers completed a second straight season sweep of the Pacers.Danny Granger was the only Indiana player to score in double figures in that matchup with 30 points, and he scored 32 for a second consecutive game Wednesday but also had a game-high seven turnovers. Indiana's struggles on the defensive end could continue if center Roy Hibbert misses a second straight game with an upper respiratory infection. The Pacers are among the best in the league in field-goal percentage defense (43.9), but their last two opponents have shot a combined 52.7 percent while averaging 112.0 points. Indiana, which last dropped four in a row March 2-6, will try to avoid a fifth consecutive loss to Portland after winning the previous nine matchups.
SCOUTING THE TRAIL BLAZERS: LaMarcus Aldridge and the Blazers try to win a season-high fifth straight when they go for their fifth consecutive victory over the Pacers. Now in his fifth season after the Blazers acquired the No. 2 pick from Chicago, Aldridge is the team's No. 1 scoring option with Brandon Roy (knees) out indefinitely. With Roy sidelined the last 18 games, Aldridge has averaged 25.9 points and 10.1 rebounds, increasing his career-high averages this season to 21.3 and 8.8 per game. Aldridge could be on the way to his first All-Star game appearance. More importantly, his presence on the defensive end will be critical as the Blazers (24-20) will be without starting center Marcus Camby for the next few weeks after he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Thursday. Despite another season marred by injuries, Portland is eighth in the Western Conference and enters Saturday looking to win five in a row for the first time since March 9-19. The Blazers, averaging 101.2 points while going 11-2 at the Rose Garden since the beginning of December, continue their five-game homestand against a Pacers team that has dropped 11 of 12 on the road.
INJURY REPORT: For the Pacers, Roy Hibbert is probable with an upper respiratory infection. For the Trail Blazers, Marcus Camby (left knee), Greg Oden (left knee), Brandon Roy (left knee) and Elliott Williams (right knee) are out.
BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 10 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 9:30. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bob "Slick" Leonard, with Kevin Lee reporting.