The nightmare continues for the Portland Trail Blazers (and their fans), as they struggled from the opening horn, eventually losing a lopsided game to the Indiana Pacers. The Blazers were outclassed throughout, unable to make shots, and unable to stop any Pacer on defense. Also, Marcus Camby hurt his shoulder on a drive early in the game and did not return. Chris Johnson also turned his ankle late during garbage time. There was no immediate sign if it was serious.
There is no need to list any Blazer leaders, since none played particularly well tonight. A quick shout-out to Indiana's Louis Amundson though, who put together an eye-popping game off their bench.
The game started with Camby hurting his shoulder. It didn't improve from there. 3 minutes in, the score was 2-0 Indy, as the Blazers were energetic but bricking. With 6:30 left, it was only 8-3 Indiana, and Nate needed a timeout. From there, Indiana's Kryptonite was the foul, as the Blazers went to the line repeatedly. This quarter was worse than you'll see in the first round of the NCAA Tourney, with Indiana eventually leading, 19-15. Of the Blazers' 15 points, 11 came from free throws. Yes, you read that right. They were 11-14 on free throws in the first quarter, and 2-15 from the field. You were never so lucky to be stuck at work. And the Blazers were lucky to not be playing Chicago.
Indiana came out smelling blood in the water to start the second quarter. In two minutes, they outhustled, outrebounded, and outscored the Blazers 8-0, and Nate called timeout. Aldridge hit a turnaround after the timeout, finally improving the Blazer shooting to 3-18. Aldridge and Crawford valiantly tried to keep the Blazers close, but only at the offensive end. On defense, Indiana teed off from wherever they wished. But eventually, the lack of defense caught up with them, as Indiana piled it on, pushing the lead to 18 with 4 minutes left. However, a late Blazer run brought the deficit down to 10 at halftime. Indiana's size advantage helped them dominate the points in the paint, 26-6.
Without Camby, the Blazers went small-ball to start the second half. They stay close for a few, but Indiana eventually reopened an 18 point lead. Meanwhile, Aldridge looked visibly frustrated while the GDT denizens got distracted with non-Blazer trade rumors. Later, after winning a jump-ball, Tyler Hansbrough completed a three-point play at the other end as the Blazers (down by 19) increasingly looked defeated. By this point, Indiana's bench was outplaying Portland, who again looked like they gave up. It was 75-52 after three.
The fourth quarter began with pure domination. Unfortunately, by Louis Amundson. And another Nate timeout. Then a 29 point lead for the Pacers. With 6 minutes left, the bench checked in, and that's all that needs to be written. Well, maybe a quick note that Indiana won the assist battle, 24-5. That probably was a factor tonight.
Don't bother with the box score, then watch for Dave's recap later. It won't be pretty. The Blazers are back on the court tomorrow night, getting a chance to make a mediocre Knick team look good.. -- Tim