Portland Trail Blazers (3-5) vs Indiana Pacers (3-6)
The Portland Trail Blazers return to Moda Center in need of some home cooking. After losing all three games on their recent road trip, the Blazers have opened the season 0-4 away from Portland. Moda Center has been friendlier, with the Blazers winning three out of four at home. There’s no better time to get back to winning ways and build some confidence.
The Indiana Pacers looked like wooden spoon contenders after seven games, but their last two games have seen a healthier team put a couple games in the win column. Most recently, Indiana beat the New York Knicks by a score of 111-98. The Pacers took the lead shortly after the opening tip and withstood every run the Knicks attempted to come away with an impressive victory.
Friday, November 5 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: ROOT Sports, NBA League Pass
Blazers injuries: None
Pacers injuries: T. J. Warren (out), Isaiah Jackson (out), Jeremy Lamb (out)
SBN Affiliate: Indy Cornrows
What To Watch For
- Don’t sleep on the Pacers. Indiana started the season 1-6, but they’ve won their last two games in some style. Injuries certainly contributed to the Pacers early season woes, but their starting five is now healthy and growing in confidence. Against the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana rung up 131 points. Versus the New York Knicks, the Pacers scored the first 11 points and led wire-to-wire. On paper this is a promising game for Portland, but a lazy start could be fatal for the home team.
- Myles Turner. Turner could be a really tricky matchup for the Blazers. Much of the season he has put up pedestrian numbers, usually scoring 10 points or fewer with a poor to middling shooting percentage. His last two games have been rather better. Against San Antonio he scored 19 on 70% shooting, and against New York he scored 25, going 7-10 from beyond the arc. The Blazers have struggled at times to close out on 6’2” guards; it’s terrifying to think what might happen if a 6’11” center starts getting hot from beyond the arc.
- How do you solve a problem like Dame Lillard? We all know that Dame will be doing Dame things again. After revealing he has aggravated an abdomen issue though, it’s hard to imagine that Friday night will be the night he lights up the scoreboard. Given the Blazers poor recent play, Lillard causes Chauncey Billups a particularly difficult problem. For better or worse, Dame almost always plays through these types of things. That’s not a disaster if the rest of the team takes center stage and Lillard is content to play a small cameo role. In reality, “Damian Lillard” and “small cameo role” aren’t words that go together very well. Lillard’s efficiency this season has been terrible by his standards, and that’s apparently before he aggravated his abdomen. If Dame doesn’t have it Friday night it’s up to the coach to figure out how to not allow Lillard to hurt his team’s chances.
What Others Are Saying
The Pacers’ win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday was all about balance according to David Woods of the Indianapolis Star.
It was Caris LeVert and Malcolm Brogdon together for the first time in 188 days. It was Domantas Sabonis’ unselfishness while swarmed by defenders. It was little-used Goga Bitadze making two of the fourth quarter’s biggest plays, a 3-pointer plus steal and layup. It was T.J. McDonnell, whose wrist was so sore he skipped shootaround, sinking a corner 3-pointer after the Knicks pulled within two points.
Bob Kravitz of The Athletic on how a visit from the Pacers to Putnamville prison made an outsized impact (subscription required).
Travion Qualls, a 25-year-old resident of the Putnamville Correctional Facility 48 miles west of Indianapolis, could never have imagined a day like this, not after his life went sideways and he ended up here, serving a six-year sentence for his involvement in a gas station robbery — he will be released in two years. After losing his hoops scholarship at Manchester (Ind.) College and ending up here, surviving all the long days and nights of prison life, Qualls had just put on a dominant, Jordan-esque show for the Indiana Pacers.
Blazers fans who are frustrated with a lack of streaming options aren’t alone reports WTHR.com.
Bally Sports Indiana, which was known as Fox Sports Indiana before Sinclair purchased and rebranded the regional sports network earlier this year, is broadcasting 81 of 82 regular season Pacers games in the 2021-2022 season. But many fans, particularly those who have “cut the cord” and utilize streaming options for their television viewing, found themselves left on the bench Wednesday.