Pacers vs Trail Blazers

Game Preview: Pacers vs Trail Blazers

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

The Pacers (29-31) are looking to extend their winning streak to four games when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers (32-28) on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Despite playing without much of a frontcourt, Indiana has strung together three consecutive wins against teams that are rebuilding. But Tuesday's contest will provide a much different test. Looking to turn things around, Portland is attempting to avoid a playoff play-in scenario and will be coming at the Pacers in full force. Losers of five straight, the Blazers currently sit in seventh place in the Western Conference standings — just 1.5 games back from the sixth-place Dallas Mavericks.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Tracking the Latest Standings, Remaining Schedules, and More »

Led by the talented backcourt duo of Damian Lillard (28.4 points per game) and CJ McCollum (23.3 points), Portland boasts the sixth-best offensive rating in the NBA. The squad records an average of 116.2 points per 100 possessions. Much of that is due to the team's proclivity for firing up long-distance 3-point shots. The Blazers sling an average of 41.6 long balls per game — the second most in the NBA. Their 37.7 percent shooting average from deep is the eighth-best in the league.

However, Portland's defense leaves an opening for Indiana's hot scorers. The squad ranks 29th in defensive rating, giving up 116.7 points per 100 possessions. Over their two most recent outings — a back-to-back set against the Memphis Grizzlies — they surrendered a combined 250 points.

Tuesday's matchup could very well come down to the guard play of both teams. Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert have provided steady scoring for the Blue & Gold while the squad deals with the injury bug. Additionally, Brogdon's length makes him a tough defender, while LeVert has upped his theft game. The former Brooklyn Net is averaging a career-high 1.7 steals this season. Fans could be in for a thrilling contest at Bankers Life Fieldhouse against two squads facing similar situations as the end of the regular season approaches.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Caris LeVert, SF - Edmond Sumner, PF - Oshae Brissett, C - JaKarr Sampson
Trail Blazers: PG - Damian Lillard, SG - CJ McCollum, SF - Norman Powell, PF - Robert Covington, C - Jusuf Nurkic

Injury Report

Pacers: Goga Bitadze - questionable (left ankle sprain), Jeremy Lamb - questionable (sore left knee), Domantas Sabonis - out (sore lower back), Myles Turner - out (partial plantar plate tear, right foot great toe), T.J. Warren - out (left foot stress fracture)

Trail Blazers: Zach Collins - out (left ankle stress fracture)

Last Meeting

Jan. 14, 2021: Indiana picked up a dominating 111-87 win on the road against the Trail Blazers early this season. It was the first road win against the foes since 2007, snapping an 11-game losing streak.

In a strong defensive effort, the Blue & Gold held Portland to just 10 points in the second quarter — a season-low for a Pacers opponent — and 16 in the fourth quarter. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were the only Portland members to finish with more than 10 points.

On offense, Malcolm Brogdon led the way with 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Sabonis (23 points, 15 rebounds) and Myles Turner (11 and 10) both recorded double-doubles in the win. Doug McDermott's 16 points and a +24 rating was the best of the bench.

The Pacers jumped out to a 23-point halftime lead after outscoring Portland 33-10 in the second quarter. McDermott scored seven straight to open the frame, which started a 14-2 run by the second unit. The defense limited the Trail Blazers to just 4-of-19 shooting in the period and forced eight turnovers.

After halftime, the Blazers threatened to close the gap. The hosts came back to within 11, 73-62, behind a 10-2 run early in the third quarter. However, that would be as close as they would get for the remainder of the game. More than half of Sabonis' points (13) came in the fourth quarter alone, helping the Blue & Gold cruise to the win down the stretch.

Noteworthy

  • With a win, the Pacers will sweep the season series for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
  • Indiana holds a 25-21 all-time home record against Portland.
  • The Blue & Gold are one of 10 teams that Portland has not beaten this season.

Tickets

A limited number of tickets for all remaining Pacers home games are now on sale. Single Game Tickets »   Health & Safety Guidelines »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.





by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

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