Trail Blazers/Pacers Pre-Game
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  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 03/03/2010 2:42 PM


    After an impressive and much needed 4-1 road trip, Portland (36-27) heads back home to take on the struggling Indiana Pacers (20-40). Up until last season, historically the Pacers had the Blazers number, winning nine straight in the season series spanning all the way back to the 2003-04 season. Portland has turned the tide a bit, winners of three straight in the series, including a comfortable 102-91 victory back in early December. It must be noted that Indiana's most dangerous player, Danny Granger, was out for that game as he was still nursing a foot injury.

    The Trail Blazers better be careful tonight and not overlook the Pacers. Just as Brandon said after the win in Memphis, the team needs to treat this game against Indiana like the last game of a road trip, because the first game home after a long trip is always prime for mental letdowns from the home team. Also, the team is only home to play one game before getting a nice three-day break before heading to Denver, which really does feel like another roadie. Not to mention, Portland has fared extremely poorly, by Rose Garden standards, at home this year. We are a pedestrian 19-13 at the RG to date, bad enough for 4th worst in the Western Conference.

    Indiana is a tired team with absolutely nothing to play for, except the spoiler role, which may or may not motivate them considering the two franchises are no where near rival status. After getting drubbed, 122-99, last night in Los Angeles, I can't imagine the 4th worst team (record wise) would be enthused to give it another go tonight. Along with being on the 2nd half of a back to back and accompanying a 7-24 road record, 5th worst in the league, all the Blazers have to do tonight is show up and assert their dominance early on in the game to crush the Pacer spirit. Poor squads with no chance at the postseason will only show signs of life if the door is left open and they get the feeling tonight may one of the few remaining nights left on the schedule to get a feel-good win. A classic example happened just about two weeks ago when the Pacers went on the road and defeated the Rockets, 125-115, after Houston failed time and time again to put them away. The lead was only 11 at halftime and they weren't able to shut the door on Indiana's hopes and it bit them in the butt.

    Portland can pick and choose any part of the Pacer defense to exploit, but if I were Coach, I'd let Aldridge get the scalpel out and go to work on the vaunted power forward tandem of Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts. Murphy, more known for his perimeter scoring and relentless effort on the glass, and McRoberts, most recognized for dating Lauren Conrad for 3 hours, will not put up much resistance to Aldridge's efforts to back them down in the post if the L-Train gets aggressive. One player LA must always keep an eye on is Indiana center Roy Hibbert, who is 10th in the league in total blocks with 103, and will surely be looking to make something happen off of the weak side. If all goes as planned, Aldridge dominates either Murphy or Granger for multiple possessions, which forces Hibbert to come over and help out. Once this happens, LA needs to expand his court vision and just rack up the easy dimes to Camby or Howard for easy buckets in the paint.

    Like the Chicago game, Indiana possesses a player whom can take over a game at any time and put his team on his back and carry them to the win. His name is Danny Granger and would be the 9th leading scorer in the league had he played in enough games. Batum has earned his paycheck the previous two games by going crazy on the offensive end of the floor, but if he can simply contain Granger tonight, either holding him to under 20 points or forcing him into an inefficient, high-scoring night, consider it a job well done.

    Normally I'd be terrified heading into the first home game after a long, hard fought road trip and considering we have lost four of our last five in the RG, but I really believe Brandon when he says he is going to get these guys ready to play tonight. They know they are barely hanging on by a thread in the West race and would rather face the Lakers later on the in playoffs, instead of right off the bat, and losing tonight will not accomplish that goal. Portland has done a good job of beating teams they should lately and I think a strong start from Aldridge with Roy taking the torch from him in the 2nd quarter will put the Pacers away early. Indiana allows the 3rd highest opponent 3 point percentage at 36.6%, which could mean big nights from Martell Webster and Rudy Fernandez spotting up from I-5 in transition, off of Aldridge double teams, or out of dribble penetration. Throw all the 3 point opportunities in a hat and pick the best one, because it is just going to be that kind of night for the Trail Blazers tonight. Finally a huge home blowout for the RG faithful to get excited about.
    Game 64 Prediction: Trail Blazers 103 Pacers 87
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  1. ClydeFrog
    ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 03/03/2010 5:00 PM

    With the way this team has been holding big leads, I doubt we blow them out. I am very skeptical of tonight's game and worry we could be in for a bigger letdown than the Utah loss. Hopefully Brandon gets going early and has an efficient night and the bench brings the energy to the Garden. Could we be in store for another 20+ point performance from Nico? Hope so! Go Blazers!
    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
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