The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Indiana Pacers 88-82 tonight, pushing their home record to 10-2 and their overall record to 15-4, tied for 3rd place in the entire NBA. There's the good news...the only news that matters, really.
The bad news? Well, our Instant Recap headline called this a "Defensive Bout". That's got to be a euphemism. This game was a bout with something, but I'm not sure defense was it. Try paying your taxes while waiting in a DMV line standing next to your in-laws as a Philadelphia 76'ers highlight reel set to Justin Bieber music plays on the TV. I guarantee you that you will experience more fun and excitement than this game provided. It will no doubt be used as a threat to force children to eat their vegetables...effectively too.
WHAT flow?!? If you saw any, you're a better analyst than I. Both teams spent the first half shooting like stormtroopers. I once heard of a handicap scoring system that allowed 1 point for touching the backboard, 2 points if the ball hit the rim, and 3 if it actually went in. If either team played by those rules they'd have scored a billion tonight...by ones and twos. Aside from the foul line, the Blazers could ONLY score off of Indiana turnovers. 13 of their first 22 points came off of Pacers miscues, 19 of the whopping 38 they scored in the first half. The Pacers were even worse. They could ONLY score off of offensive rebounds, of which they got precious few considering the 62,000 shots they missed. 15 of their 33 first-half points qualified as second-chance points.
And you read that right. The score was 38-33. At the half. Moda Center stood for Make One Damn Attempt! No such luck. The halftime shooting percentages were so low that we can't print them here. You'll have to click "Add to Cart" to see them. But don't bother, it's not really worth it.
The teams traded runs in the third quarter, sending shooting percentages soaring towards 40%. Portland ripped off a 10-2 run followed by Indiana's 7-0 answer. It seemed like a flash flood after the previous drought. This left the score at 62-59 for Portland after three.
The Blazers churned out a final 11-0 run in the fourth to put the game away...a couple of threes and a handful of layups made the difference. The Pacers scored inside enough to keep it close (note: not "keep it interesting") but the Blazers never faltered...more than they already had. Portland walked away with a 6 point win, which is like 42 in dog years and in terms of the total scoring level in this game.
Good win, though.
Fun With Numbers
--Blazers 40% shooting, Pacers 40% shooting. And it took a strong second half to get there.
--Pacers 5-18 (28%) from distance, Blazers 4-21 (19%). When your three-point percentage is less than the alcohol level of your average girly drink, you're not having a good night.
--Portland 5 offensive rebounds.
--Pacers 17 turnovers for 24 Blazers points .
--Portland 18-23 free throws, Indiana 5-8. The refs were letting a lot of bumping go and Indiana could not get a call. Half of Portland's attempts came from Damian Lillard, many of those off of drives. Basically big men could take nail-driven 2x4's to each other in this game without a whistle but driving guards drew them. Lillard drove, Indiana's guards not so much. The Pacers had 2 free throw attempts total in the first three quarters.
Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard had good showings for the Blazers, looking somewhat normal. Batum took a more active role than he has over the last couple of weeks, 3 steals and 2 blocks providing his highlights.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 13 rebounds and hit a couple of nice-looking threes.
Chris Kaman had 7 rebounds and 4 assists in 18 minutes but his personal offense went bonk for the third game in a row.
Joel Freeland and Allen Crabbe had opportunistic nights, Freeland on the boards and Crabbe on the run.
Everybody else looked mired in mud.
The Blazers will begin a 5-game East-heavy road trip on Sunday in New York.
Boxscore (Make sure you have a strong stomach.)
Indy Cornrows might be more used to this kind of thing? Pity them if that's so.
Don't miss our In-Arena report from the Moda Center.
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Since it's the season of giving, don't forget to help underprivileged youth, children, and chaperons see Portland's March 30th game against the Phoenix Suns by contributing tickets to Blazer's Edge Night. The cost of a ticket is low ($13-$16) and the joy it brings into the life of a child who otherwise wouldn't get to see a game is immeasurable. We're looking to send over 1000 kids this year. You can find all the details here. Please help with a ticket or two (or 10!) if you can.