Trail Blazers fall to Pacers: 6 notes from loss vs. Indiana

the Portland Trail Blazers failed to overcome Indiana Pacers A last minute push as they fell 108-99 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The Blazers and Pacers had an ugly game that saw neither team shoot efficiently all night.

If you missed the game, you can catch up with our quarter-by-quarter recap here. Once you’ve read that, here are six notes from tonight’s loss.

rotation problems

The Blazers turned the ball over five times in the first quarter, and followed it up with six more in the next frame. The game ended at 18, and the Pacers took advantage of these opportunities. The Pacers’ 29 turnover helped smooth out a bad shooting night with easy transition opportunities. A sloppy Blazers game hit them all night and seemed to take the wind out of the sails of a team that needed a spark. The inability to gain momentum late in the game ended up being very costly for the Blazers, and turnovers throughout the contest did nothing to remedy that.

Bench problems continue

Blazers starters again put the numbers down. With all five scoring at least 12 points, and aggregating 80 between them, the Blazers got a lot of good minutes right from the start. However, the league’s lowest benching of more than two points per game contributed only 19 points in the loss, with 11 coming from Jabari-Walker alone. Walker was a bright spot to his credit. He had a career high in points, grabbing six rebounds in just 14 minutes. Other than Walker, the bench trio of Keon Johnson, Drew Eubanks and Shaydon Sharpe only had eight points in 41 minutes of total time between them. The Blazers need good consistent minutes off the bench if they want to be able to weather the storm when their players come off, and so far this season, they haven’t gotten that.

Jabari Walker

Despite his low scoring effort off the bench, Walker had probably the best game of his young career, with 11 points and six rebounds. But the numbers don’t tell the full story of his performance.

Of his six boards, four were offensive glass rebounds and he added a steal and an assist. He also played with an excess of energy. He played like a man who has nothing to lose and plays with the house money. The penultimate pick in the draft this season cemented a spot in Portland’s playoff rotation by working hard and doing the dirty work. He’s been a player to watch so far this season, and he’s shown exactly why he’s such an interesting player for the remainder of this Blazers season.

Unable to close

The main difference between the 19-19 Blazers and the early season 10-3 Blazers is their ability to close out games.

Early in the season, the Blazers were clutch dominant. They won multiple games with game-winning shots late in the hour, or hitting the buzzer. Lately, the Blazers haven’t looked the same at all. In this game alone, they missed their last 13 field goal attempts and were left 9-0 to the Pacers after tying the game late in the fourth quarter. With top-tier finishers in Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant, it’s baffling to see. An inability to win close games late on has been a major factor in the Blazers’ 9-16 record since their hot start, and it hurts them again tonight.

Aggressive on the boards

The Blazers dominated the glass despite their losing efforts. They outscored the Pacers 52-41 and had 12 offensive boards included in that total. This rebounding inconsistency kept the Blazers close for most of the game despite shooting only 40% from field and 27% from depth. Jusuf Nurkic and Josh Hart did most of the heavy lifting in that total with 19 and 10 rebounds, respectively. The two kept the Pacers off the offensive glass for most of the game, severely limiting chances for second chances.

The Blazers had twelve offensive boards, while the Pacers were limited to just four. This resulted in a 16-4 lead in second chance points, a category that needed a win for a Blazers who were bad at shooting. It didn’t end up winning, but the amount of extra chances created kept the Blazers in the game longer than they should have.

fouling shooters

The Blazers committed fewer errors than the Pacers in this contest, getting only 19 to the Pacers’ 22. However, you can easily think differently just by looking at the free throw numbers. The Pacers shot 11 more free throws than the Blazers which led to 11 more points from the streak. In a game decided by just nine points, this inconsistency could have made the difference. Foul shooters More than normal open-court fouls hurt the Blazers in this contest, and it led to another game where they took fewer free throws than the opponent. No major foul from any Blazers is a good change of pace, but the fouls that hurt the Blazers for the second straight game are very painful.

next one

square score

The Blazers are back in action for the final game of three with a trip in Toronto at 12:30 PM on Sunday.

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