Portland Trail Blazers (26-43) vs Indiana Pacers (24-47)
The Portland Trail Blazers continue their East Coast road trip with a matchup against the Indiana Pacers. The Blazers have dropped their last three games, while the Pacers beat the Houston Rockets in their last outing 121-118 with key performances from Malcolm Brogdon and Goga Bitadze.
Sunday, March 20 - 12:30 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: Root Sports NW
Blazers injuries: Damian Lillard (out), Nassir Little (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Eric Bledsoe (out), Didi Louzada (out), Joe Ingles (out), Anfernee Simons (out), Justise Winslow (out)
Pacers injuries: Ricky Rubio (out), TJ McConnell (out), Myles Turner (out) TJ Warren (out) Isaiah Jackson (out), Chris Duarte (out)
SBN Affiliate: Indy Cornrows
What To Watch For
Playing for pride. Despite the tank, the Blazers show up for stretches where it’s clear they are playing for their pride. No one likes to lose. This could be dangerous when they are facing a Pacers squad with its own struggles, but the Blazers need to lose this game to avoid the play-in. Similarly, the Pacers are embracing the tank, but who knows which team will outsmart the other today.
Josh Hart. There’s no doubt that the major storyline of the spring is Josh Hart and his fighting spirit. Despite the above, he is one of the key factors that is keeping this squad together and running. Have we mentioned that he’s just fun to watch?
Sloppy Play. Turnovers have been a persistent issue for the Blazers down the stretch. If the Trail Blazers want to hang with the Pacers, they will need to keep the turnovers to a minimum and clean up their play.
What Others Are Saying
Following the win over the Houston Rockets, coach Rick Carlisle had this to say about Goga Bitadze, according to the Associated Press.
“Goga Bitadze had a great game,” he said. “A lot of impact around the rim. It’s great to see him feeling good and having a chance to be out there. I’m real happy for him. He made huge plays, really on both sides of the ball.”
TJ Warren is still sitting out, but it isn’t due to the stress fractues he’s suffered in the past, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Warren, 28, has missed the entirety of this season and played only four games in 2020-21 with the stress fractures. He has fully recovered now, but discussions between the Pacers and his representatives concluded that returning to play so late in a season that won’t include playoffs for the Pacers made less sense than starting preparations for next year.