Restart Scrimmages Start Thursday Versus Pacers
There have been many steps in the process of restarting the 2019-20 NBA season after the league shuttered in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. First, the NBA had to figure out if it was safe, then reopen practice facilities for solo workouts, then come up with a place and a plan for a restart and then present that plan to the NBA Players Union and the Board of Governors. After everyone signed off, 22 teams travelled to the site of the “NBA Bubble” at Walt Disney World in Orlando, after which they underwent two days of quarantine before returning to contact practices for the first time since the shutdown.
And now, after over four months of preparation, the Trail Blazers begin a round of scrimmages, the last step before playing the first of their eight-game restart schedule starting July 31.
“It’s good, I think the scrimmages are going to be beneficial for a lot of different teams, for different reasons,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “But for us, mainly getting Zach (Collins) and (Jusuf Nurkić) and Hassan (Whiteside) working that three-man rotation with fours and fives, Melo (Anthony) playing some three, our execution on offense. Conditioning, we’ll approach each game differently, but guys playing extended minutes. Obviously we’ve been practicing, but playing game minutes is a little different.”
For their first exhibition, they’ll face the Pacers in a 40-minute scrimmage Thursday afternoon at the HP Field House on the ESPN Wild World of Sports campus at Walt Disney World. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
ALL TIME: Trail Blazers lead, 57-35
IN PORTLAND: Trail Blazers lead, 36-10
AT THE PACERS: Pacers lead, 25-21
LAST PORTLAND WIN: 139-129, 1/26/20 (Portland)
LAST PACERS WIN: 106-100, 2/27/20 (Indiana)
CURRENT WIN STREAK: One (Indiana)
• Thursday's scrimmage will be the first of the 2020 NBA Regular Season Restart for both teams and their first competition against another team since the season was postponed on March 11.
• The Trail Blazers and Pacers split their 2019-20 regular season series 1-1, with each team winning the contest on their home court.
• The Trail Blazers are 10-2 in their last 12 games against the Pacers, though they had a five-game winning streak that spanned three seasons snapped in the last meeting.
• LAST MEETING: Despite 28 points and 8 assists from CJ McCollum, the Trail Blazers fell 106-100 to the Pacers at Bankers Life Field House on Feb. 27, 2020. The Pacers were led by 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists from Domantas Sabonis.
• CJ McCollum McCollum has scored in double-figures in nine of his 10 career games against Indiana, with the exception coming during his rookie season (2013-14) when he scored nine points in 12 minutes.
• Gary Trent Jr. started in the last meeting versus Indiana in place of Damian Lillard (groin) and finished with 20 points on 7-of-15 hooting from the field and 4-of-8 shooting from three, five rebounds and a steal in 41 minutes.
• Hassan Whiteside had 18 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks and 1 assist in the loss to the Pacers on Feb. 27.
• Domantas Sabonis recorded his second career triple-double in the first game against Portland this season, finishing with 27 points (11-17 FG, 5-6 FT), 14 rebounds, a career-high 11 assists and one block. Prior to Jan. 19 of this season, Sabonis had yet to record a triple-double in his career. In the 23 days from Jan. 19 - Feb. 10, the Indiana forward recorded four.
• CONNECTION: Portland head coach Terry Stotts, who played his last two high school seasons at Bloomington North High School, was recently inducted into the Indiana Sports Hall of Fame.
• CONNECTION: Indiana head coach Nate McMillan served as Portland's head coach for six-plus seasons from 2005-12, compiling a record of 266-269.
• CONNECTION: Pacers forward/center Domantas Sabonis is the son of former Portland center Arvydas Sabonis.
Rodney Hood (left ruptured Achilles tendon) is not with the team in Orlando and will not participate in any scrimmages nor games the rest of the season. Trevor Ariza (personal reasons) and Caleb Swanigan (personal reasons) are not with the team and will not play in Orlando.
Thursday's scrimmage can be seen locally on NBC Sports Northwest with Jordan Kent, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam calling the action. Travis Demers and Michael Holton will have the call on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations on the Deschutes Brewery Trail Blazers Radio Network.