March 13, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Portland Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum (88) and Indiana Pacers small forward Danny Granger (33) fight for a loose ball at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE

Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers: Preseason Preview

Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers Off Season Recap

Portland was hoping to land big restricted free agent in Roy Hibbert, and offered him a max contract.  The Pacers remained quiet, until something broke, and they matched the offer bringing him to play in Indy for four more years.  That hurt the Trail Blazers this off season as they ended up giving Nicolas Batum a deal and even offering a contract to back up center in Ronnie Price.  Not exactly guys that can play like Hibbert, but they’ll have to do in Portland.  The Trail Blazers might end up starting their rookie, Meyers Leonard, at center if nothing else comes into play.  The Blazers also picked up Sasha Pavlovic at the guard position.  Finally, they had to hire a new head coach, and went in the direction of Terry Stotts over the interim coach in Kaleb Canales.  He had some support from the team, but the Blazers’ front office felt differently.  Canales is still a part of the coaching staff in an effort to appease the players, but it should be interesting to see how this all plays out.

The Blazers look to be in rebuilding mode with no clear star other than LaMarcus Aldridge, who won’t have much help with this team.  It’s going to be possibly starting a couple of rookies, which is never a good sign that your team will be contending anytime soon.  They’ll be lottery bound this season and possibly for the next few years.  Let’s see how long Aldridge will end up sticking around if this is just a rebuilding project.

Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers Match Up

Just like a few other match ups that I’ve discussed, I think the Pacers have a clear advantage in this and have to make the best out of that.  It’s a test for the Blazers to see where they stack up against a better team.  It’s a test for the Pacers to make sure they win these type of games against inferior talent.

Roy Hibbert should have a field day against the big men of Portland as he’s that much better than them.  LaMarcus Aldridge might do some damage, but who else is there to score for the Blazers?  If you look at two rookies in the possible starting lineup going against the Pacers’ lineup that started the last month of last season and played through the playoffs, who would you pick in this series?

This isn’t a big series to worry about if the Pacers somehow blow it as the teams aren’t in the same conference and I can’t see the teams meeting in the NBA Finals, so it’s something to watch.  But I won’t lose any sleep over how the Pacers do in this one.  Go out and win, then move on to the games that matter.

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Tags: Portland Trail Blazers

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