Monday, December 2, 2013 at 10:00 PM ET at the Moda Center
Game Preview: Pacers (16-1) at Trail Blazers (14-3)
Scott Agness | December 1, 2013
When pressed for a surprise in the NBA through the first month, it most certainly has to be the play of the Portland Trail Blazers. They started the 2013-14 campaign 13-2, which included a streak of 11 consecutive wins. Last season, they finished with just 33 wins to their name.
Boasting the league’s best record, the Pacers (16-1) arrived in Portland late Sunday after defeating the Clippers in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon. The Pacers actually had a head start on traveling to Portland as the Trail Blazers defeated the Lakers Sunday night at the STAPLES Center after the Pacers-Clippers game.
Nate McMillan, Frank Vogel’s right hand man and Portland’s leader for seven seasons, will step foot in the Trail Blazers’ (renamed) arena, the Moda Center, for the first time since being fired on March 15, 2012. He took last season off and then replaced Brian Shaw on the Pacers’ bench this past offseason.
The Blazers selected CJ McCollum 10th overall in the NBA draft in June, but the rookie has yet to step foot onto the floor due to a fractured left foot. They acquired Robin Lopez in a trade with the Pelicans and Thomas Robinson from the Rockets. In addition, they signed Dorell Wright, Mo Williams, and one-time Pacers guard Earl Watson (2009-10).
Two-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge averages nearly a double-double – 22.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Damian Lillard, last year’s Rookie of the Year, has raised most of his numbers (20.2 points, 5.9 assists per game). The Blazers are one of the most accurate 3-point shooting teams in the league (41.4 percent) and their starting lineup ranks among the best. Their bench, which ranked 30th last season and just behind the Pacers, is still near the bottom so that’s an area the Pacers should be looking to take advantage.
Pacers: Danny Granger (out, strained left calf)
Bulls: CJ McCollum (out, fractured left foot)
“It’s a good challenge for us. We’re embracing this trip. We have a whole different animal going to Portland, but we’ve got to be prepared to let this one go, leave this one in Los Angeles, and prepare for a tough, tough game tomorrow.” – David West on the road trip
“We don’t get too high on it, to tell you the truth. We keep plugging along. I didn’t even know, seriously, I thought we were like 13-1. I didn’t even know we were 15, 16-1, whatever it is. We’re focused. We know that we’re not going to go 81-1, but we know that we have to win the games we have to win, and make sure that we compete at a high level against the tougher teams.” – Roy Hibbert on their 16-1 record
- In Portland, the Trail Blazers have won four in a row over the Pacers.
- The Pacers have won six straight road wins over Western Conference teams going back to last season.
January 23: The Trail Blazers shot over 56 percent in their 100-80 thrashing of the Pacers. Once tied at 24 early in the second period, Portland then went on a 20-4 run that put the game out of hand. All five of their starters finished in double figures, guided by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 27 points.
Paul George scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds; David West added 21. The Pacers were 6-of-23 from beyond the arc, including George Hill’s 1-for-7 mark. Exactly half of Portland’s points were scored in the paint.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (host)