Trail Blazers vs Pacers Friday, 02/04/11 AT 04:00PM

Preview: Portland Forecasting Three-Year Sweep At Indiana

  1. Written by: ShalamarClark  / avg. rating: 4.0

    Wednesday’s loss in Denver wasn’t quiet the start the Portland Trail Blazers had hoped for to open a three-game road trip, but on Friday they will travel to Conseco Fieldhouse, looking for a season sweep over the Indiana Pacers for the third year in a row. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 PM. 

    The Trail Blazers (26-23) hold a five-game streak over the Pacers (19-27) including their most recent 97-92 win on Jan. 22 at the Rose Garden, behind LaMarcus Aldridge’s double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds to rally back from a 16-point deficit. 

    Aldridge, who missed the cut for the Western All-Star reserves on Thursday, was helped by Wesley Matthews, who scored 19 points and a career-high nine assists, and Nicolas Batum, who knocked in five of the Trail Blazers season-best 10 3-pointers, to overcome the first-half slump and come one game away from claiming a 2-0 sweep for their third consecutive year.

    Aldridge is averaging 21.3 points and nine rebounds this season and has scored at least 18 points and nine rebounds in is last three games, including a career-high 40 points and 11 rebounds against San Antonio at home on Tuesday.

    Portland has won two in a row in Indiana and in the last five games, the Trail Blazers have defeated the Pacers by a margin of 10.2 points.

    Danny Granger scored a team-high 24 points for Indiana and Rot Hibbert recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting. Portland’s deep ball overtook the competition as Batum nailed four of his five threes in the fourth quarter. 

    The Trail Blazers had another solid night from beyond the arc, shooting 9-of-17 from three-range against the Nuggets. However, Denver’s Nene proved to be an unstoppable force, totaling a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds as Portland loss its opening road match 109-90 on Wednesday.

    Matthews, who played 27 grueling minutes after getting banged up halfway through the game, shot 6-of-8 from the floor for a team-high 19 points including three from long range, four rebounds and added three steals. Aldridge had 18 points and nine rebounds and Batum sank four 3-pointer for 17 points and added four assists. 

    Matthews, the second d-year guard, who was selected to the Rookie Challenge game on All-Star Weekend, somehow played to the final buzzer after rolling his right ankle before halftime and colliding knees with Carmelo Anthony, who finished with 20 points, to open the third quarter. Matthews has not been ruled out against Indiana. 

    The Pacers would hope for one less offensive weapon on the Trail Blazers’ roster heading into Friday’s matchup, when they try to post their third consecutive win to achieve their longest run of the season.

    Indian has only won three of its last 10 games, but overcame Toronto, 104-93, at home on Jan. 31, and Cleveland, 117-112, on Friday under the direction of interim coach Frank Vogel, who replaced the former Pacers’ Head Coach Jim O’Brien on Sunday.

    Granger scored 23 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Darren Collison had 22 points and nine assists to drop the Cavaliers for 22 straight games. 

    Marcus Camby, Brandon Roy, Greg Oden and Elliot Williams are all out from action due to knee-related injuries.

    Watch the Trail Blazers in action on Comcast SportsNet Channel 37 with analysis from Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, and listen to the live play-by-play from Brain Wheeler and Antonio Harvey on 95.5 FM The Game.

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