Pacers at Trail Blazers

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Portland Has Familiar Feel for Pacers

Jan. 17, 2018 - The Pacers, who have several connections to Portland and the Trail Blazers, discuss being back in the Pacific Northwest, their recent strong play, and Thursday's game against the Blazers.

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Portland Has Familiar Feel for Pacers

Jan. 17, 2018 - The Pacers, who have several connections to Portland and the Trail Blazers, discuss being back in the Pacific Northwest, their recent strong play, and Thursday's game against the Blazers.
Jan 17, 2018  |  02:01

Game Preview: Pacers at Trail Blazers

Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 10:00 PM ET at Moda Center
by Greg Rappaport
Pacers.com Writer
@Greg_Rappaport

Last Updated: Jan. 18 at 2:58 PM ET

Matchup

The Pacers take a perfect 2-0 road trip to the Pacific Northwest on Thursday, tipping off the first leg of a back-to-back against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers.

The game will be Indiana's third of a five-game road swing as the Pacers (24-20) appear to have recaptured their early-season momentum and are now climbing in the Eastern Conference.

Since their leading scorer and All-Star candidate Victor Oladipo returned to the lineup, the Pacers have won five of their last six games.

While offense has been Indiana's calling card all season, where it ranks sixth in the league in offensive efficiency (108.6 points per 100 possessions), its defense has been critical during the last six games.

Across that span, the Pacers are limiting opponents to just 100.6 points per 100 possions, the fifth-best mark in the NBA during that window.

Against Portland (23-21), the Pacers will need all the defense they can get, with the Trail Blazers trotting out one of the NBA's most impressive backcourts.

Starters Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined to average 46.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per game.

Meanwhile, last year's trade acquisition Jusuf Nurkic has notched 14.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, filling out an impressive Portland roster.

Still, even with a high-scoring group, the Trail Blazers have been in a funk of late, losing three consecutive games before beating the Suns on Tuesday.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Darren Collison, SG - Victor Oladipo, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Domantas Sabonis
Trail Blazers: PG - Damian Lillard, SG - CJ McCollum, SF - Evan Turner, PF - Al-Farouq Aminu, C - Jusuf Nurkic

Injury Report

Pacers: Lance Stephenson - game-time decision (illness), Myles Turner - out (right elbow ligament sprain and muscle strain), Glenn Robinson III - out (left ankle surgery rehabilitation), Edmond Sumner - out (left knee surgery rehabilitation)

Trail Blazers: None

Last Meeting

October 20, 2017: In their second game of the NBA season, the Pacers fell to the Portland Trail Blazers 114-96 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Playing without Myles Turner, the Pacers' offense still held its own, but their defense could not cool down the Portland Trail Blazers as shooting guard CJ McCollum poured in 28 points.

For the Pacers, rookie TJ Leaf was a bright spot in the loss, scoring 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including two makes from downtown.

"I didn't have the best game (last game), but my teammates instilled a lot of confidence in me," Leaf said. "...I was just trying to take what the defense gave me."

Noteworthy

  • The Trail Blazers lead the all-time series 53-34 and have a 33-10 edge at the Moda Center.
  • Portland center Zach Collins and Pacers center Domantas Sabonis both attended Gonzaga.
  • Trail Blazers rookie Caleb Swanigan attended Purdue and is an Indianapolis native. He played his high school ball at Homestead in Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Thursday's game will be the first leg of Indiana's 10th back-to-back. The Pacers are 6-3 in the first game of back-to-backs this season (4-1 on the road).

Tickets

Following their five-game road trip, the Pacers return to Indianapolis to host Devin Booker and the Suns on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)

Away Game Night Special

Pacers State Hat - $12. Game Night Specials can be purchased online the day of each away game from 10:00 AM - Midnight. Order Online »