Summer League Trail Blazers Struggle In Loss To Pacers

by Casey Holdahl
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After starting out their 2021 summer league with consecutive victories, the Portland Trail Blazers were thumped 97-64 by the Indiana Pacers Thursday afternoon at Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV.

“I told the guys after the game, I said ‘Welcome to the NBA,’” said summer league head coach/regular season assistant coach Roy Rogers. “This is what happens. You start feeling too good about yourselves and you come in and play a team that’s desperate for a win. They’re 0-2 and they jumped out on us and give the credit to Indiana, they were more physical on both ends of the court.”

The Trail Blazers are now 2-1 in Las Vegas with one game to play before the start of the summer league tournament, which begins Monday.

While Thursday’s contest wasn’t technically a wire-to-wire loss for the Trail Blazers, they trailed 9-0 a little over a minute into the action at Thomas & Mack and held the lead for total of 11 seconds versus a Pacers team that entered the contest having lost their first two games.

Though after trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half, the Blazers managed to get the Pacers’ advantage down to seven before the halftime intermission.

But any hope of remaining perfect at summer league was scuttled when the Trail Blazers managed to score just seven points in the third quarter on 3-of-16 shooting from the field and 0-of-6 shooting from three. Meanwhile, Indiana shot nearly 70 percent from the field, scored 12 points in the paint and nine in transition to take a 71-44 lead into the fourth quarter.

“I think we just got manhandled,” said Greg Brown III. “We couldn’t run or offense, we couldn’t come off of screens and get what we wanted. And defensively, they killed us on the boards, we missed some rotations. We got manhandled tonight.”

The Trail Blazers put up a better fight in the fourth, but they still trailed by as many as 38 and were outscored 26-20 in the quarter on the way to a 33-point loss.

Portland only had two players, both reserves, score in double figures, with Antonio Blakeney going 6-of-11 for 15 points and rookie Greg Brown III added 12 points.

Pacers rookie Chris Duarte, formerly of the Oregon Ducks, led all scorers with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field. Duane Washington Jr. added 13 points off the bench, Cassius Stanley contributed 12, BJ Johnson had 11 and both Devin Robinson and Isaiah Jackson finished with 10.

Next up, the Trail Blazers will have a day to regroup before facing the Suns Saturday night at Cox Pavilion on the campus of UNLV. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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