The Portland Trail Blazers had everything go right against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first half on Sunday, but boy-howdy was that second half rough. Shooting 28 percent from the field in the half has a way of making big leads disappear. The net result was a 108-102 loss, one that might sting for a bit. Portland will need to put that one in their rear view mirror quickly as they head to Indianapolis for the second of a road back-to-back.
The Indiana Pacers on the other hand are feeling pretty good about themselves. Their 9-6 record is nothing to sneeze at, and they are a perfect 4-0 in the In-Season Tournament and have qualified for the quarter-finals. Most recently the Pacers saw off the Detroit Pistons on Friday by the score of 136-113. While the Blazers are on a road back-to-back, Indiana is in the middle of a four-game homestand and have had two solid days of rest.
Portland Trail Blazers (4-12) vs. Indiana Pacers (9-6) - Mon. Nov. 27 - 4:00 p.m. Pacific
How to watch on TV: Root Sports, NBA League Pass
Trail Blazers injuries: Anfernee Simons, Robert Williams III, Ish Wainright (out)
Pacers injuries: Aaron Nesmith (out)
What To Watch For
- Tyrese Haliburton. It’s hard to overstate how important Haliburton is to the Pacers. He averages 8.2 points more per game than his closest teammate and averages more than triple the number of assists of anyone else. He plays more minutes than anyone and helps more grannies cross the street (probably). After making the All-Star game last season for the first time, expect him to be a regular fixture there for years to come. Odds are pretty high that Blazers fans will see why on Monday.
- Indiana can put the sphere in the circle. Who’s the best shooting team from the field in the NBA and also the second best from deep? If you guessed the Portland Trail Blazers, you would be wrong. Very, very wrong. It’s the Indiana Pacers, and that’s a problem. Portland is going to have a hard time matching Indiana shot-for-shot. It’s going to take a stellar defensive effort, first-half-in-Milwaukee shooting from Portland and some luck. Stranger things have happened. Just not very often.
Is there any hope? Well actually, the Pacers can’t rebound worth a darn. They are second to last in rebounds in the NBA. It gets slightly better when we look at advanced metrics where they are 24th in rebound percentage, but they are still a bottom feeder when it comes to boards. Interestingly they are 15th when it comes to offensive rebound percentage. It’s on the defensive end where they are really dismal. So maybe all the Blazers have to do is hit the offensive boards to give themselves a shot. You have to squint pretty hard to see this working, but Portland is 9th in the NBA in offensive rebound percentage. So maybe? It’s not much, but its something to hold on to.
About the Opponent
Trevor Ruskowski of USA Today thinks Tyrese Haliburton is doing ok.
I’m just going to come right out and say it: Tyrese Haliburton could go down as the best Pacer in history. And this is coming from a guy who tries really hard to not overreact to the latest trends and hot-takes in the sports world. This is also coming from a guy who grew up watching Reggie Miller and the magic that #31 brought to the state of Indiana. I’m not crowning the young Pacers star just yet, but the bottom line is this: Tyrese Haliburton is playing historic basketball right now. At just 23 years old, he’s going to be a Pacer for a very long time… and when it comes to his game, he’s just getting started.
DJ Dunson of Deadspin thinks Haliburton is pretty neato too.
Calling the Indiana Pacers one of the NBA’s most scintillating teams is an understatement. Five decades into their NBA existence, Indiana is finally playing at an Indy 500 pace.The peak Reggie Miller era was defined by a physical ‘90s offense that was buoyed by a stifling defense and big Rik Smits anchoring . The Malice in the Palace could have just been a shorthand for the physical brand Ron Artest, Jermaine O’Neal and late-career Reggie were playing to match Detroit’s suffocating defense. Paul George and Roy Hibbert played some of the slowest-paced offensive basketball that was hard to watch at times. Haliburton has Indiana’s offensive humming at levels never before seen in these parts.
You’ve heard of an India Pale Ale (IPA)? How about an Indiana Pale Ale? Upland Brewing Company fills that need the next time you are in Indiana.
Courtside, a crisp pale ale with a 5.4 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), is now available for purchase at all Upland Brewing Company locations in Indiana, and, pursuant to an agreement between Upland Brewing Company and Levy Restaurants, it is also now available during Pacers games at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Upland’s goal with Courtside is to become a meaningful addition to game day traditions.