Wednesday, January 23rd at 10 PM EST at the Rose Garden

Game Preview: IND (26-16) at POR (20-21)

by Scott Agness | January 22, 2013

Matchup

Coming off a narrow win over Memphis on Monday, the Pacers now head west for their next three games, beginning with Portland (20-21) late Wednesday. The Trail Blazers have lost six in a row, most recently on a buzzer-beater to the Wizards. That loss wasn’t nearly as bad as their one in November to the Wizards, who have come on strong and won five of their last seven games. And the Blazers recent string of losses hasn’t been as demoralizing as you may think because they’ve all gone down to the final minutes. In fact, their last ten games have all been decided by six points or fewer.

Related: At Halfway Point, Pacers on Right Path »

Related: Midseason Report with Donnie Walsh »

The Blazers starting five leads the league in offensive productivity. LaMarcus Aldridge, a potential NBA All-Star this season, is dependable as they come and is good for about 20 points and nine rebounds per game. He gets a lot of his points in the lane and at the foul line, almost five attempts per game. Nicolas Batum, who recorded his first career triple-double (12 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) in their loss on Monday, is fourth in the league in 3-pointers made and is averaging 18 points and seven rebounds over the last 10 games. Center J.J. Hickson is the 7th-best rebounder in the league, averaging 11 per game.

Point guard Damian Lillard is having a special rookie season. He leads all first-year players in scoring and (18.3) and assists (6.6). The sixth pick in June’s draft is the favorite for Rookie of the Year honors for his play and the difference he’s made early on. He’s a guy the Pacers must contain because he can score in a hurry. And if Lillard isn’t having the hot hand, he’ll find who is.

Portland is a work in progress this season. They have a new general manager, coaching staff and five rookies on their roster. The Rose Garden is one of the top atmospheres in the league, attracting almost 20,000 a game (4th in the NBA) so look for the Pacers’ to try and take the Blazers and their home crowd out of the game early.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

David West

David West

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Damian Lillard

Wesley Matthews

Nicolas Batum

LaMarcus Aldridge

JJ Hickson

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee)
Blazers:Sasha Pavlovic (out, left foot), Elliot Williams (out, left Achilles tendon), Meyers Leonard (questionable, right ankle)

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have won the last three meetings but the Blazers have won the last three at the Rose Garden.
  • The Pacers are 12-6 against Western Conference opponents and with a win they’d improve to 5-4 on the road vs. West teams.
  • Pacers General Manager Kevin Pritchard worked for the Trail Blazers from 2004-2010 as director of player personnel (2004), interim head coach (in ‘05), Assistant GM and later, GM (’06-10).

Last Meeting

The Pacers last faced the Trail Blazers back on December 5th, in which their 99-92 win jump-started what is now an 11-game home winning streak. They got back out in front and took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring Portland 31-14. The Trail Blazers threatened late, getting to within four, but the Pacers held on. Indiana’s bench was sound and outscored Portland’s bench 31-13.

Paul George scored 22 points, George Hill had 18 and Ian Mahinmi finished with a season high 12 points. Blazers rookie Damian Lillard scored a game-high 23 points and Wesley Matthews added 19.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 1070 The Fan – Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (host)

Next Home Game

The Pacers return home on Wednesday, January 30 to take on the Detroit Pistons. Good seats are still available. Find Tickets »

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