Indiana Pacers (26-16)
Portland Trailblazers (20-21)
The next three games could be great for building up the road resume for the Indiana Pacers. Right now, they are 10-13 on the road, which is not that impressive, but at least three straight wins, and they pull even. While not the best, getting even on the road could prove that in the playoffs, you know how to win on the road. Plus it would be three straight wins against playoff caliber teams, something the Pacers haven’t done much of either. Like they always say, you play who’s on the schedule and right now the Pacers have a good chance to get some good wins.
It starts tonight in Portland, where the Pacers play the Trailblazers, who they’ve already beat once at home. Another meeting with the Blazers, and a good shot at knocking off the Blazers, who have lost 6 games in a row, and 4 straight at home. Which of course means the Blazers win tonight right? Not if the Pacers can continue their current seven game win streak against Western Conference teams. All kinds of streaks here.
What do the Pacers have to do to beat the Blazers this evening? Keep playing that terrific defense they’ve been playing. Get Paul George going. Rebound the ball like they have been doing. Keep it solid on the offensive end. It’s funny to talk about defense and rebounding first, but with this team, those things do come first, which is why they can get some wins.
Paul George has a good shot to wow some coaches into an All Star bid as those roles will be announced tomorrow night. I know we Pacer fans believe he’s an All Star, and even without that “tag”, we still know how important he’s been to this team. David West is 1A to George as without West, I don’t think this team is sitting 10 games over .500 or even sitting at .500. So it would be great to get David West one more great game.
On the Blazers side, LaMarcus Aldridge wants to prove himself as he’s looked to be a solid All Star pick. So if the Pacers can keep him grounded, they have a good shot at winning. Also, keep an eye on Damian Lillard, who ran right past whoever was guarding him for the Pacers. He put up 23 points last time out, so who knows what he could put up tonight.
This game will probably be like the last time out, where the Pacers kept a lead after 31 points in the third quarter. I think this one is close most of the way until Indiana pulls away like that. They should get a solid effort as they want to win that first game out west, and make sure this trip gets off to the right start.