The Pascal Siakam era in Indiana has officially begun, and it is not off to the greatest start.
Just one night after a miraculous win in Sacramento against a fully healthy Kings team, the new-look Indiana Pacers, sporting a debuting Pascal Siakam and a returning Tyrese Haliburton, made their debut against the Portland Trail Blazers.
For Haliburton, this was his first NBA game after spraining his hamstring vs Boston on January 8. For Siakam, this was his first game as a member of his new team after being traded two days earlier.
As a result, Siakam was not given any time to practice with his new teammates or learn much of the playbook and had to do plenty of on-the-fly learning as Indy tried to make it two wins in a row against a Portland team missing Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons.
Surprisingly, despite not knowing much about the team and only landing in Indiana the day prior, Siakam produced very nicely in his Indiana debut, scoring 21 points on 9/14 shooting, grabbing six rebounds, and dishing out three assists. In addition,
Tyrese Haliburton looked to have zero injury rust in his return, producing a classic stat line of 21 points and 17 assists on zero turnovers, as he has been known to do. Myles Turner also added some firepower to the team, scoring 29 points on 6/10 from beyond the arc and grabbing 12 rebounds with five blocked shots.
Unfortunately, besides these three performances and 18 and 12 points from Buddy Hield and Aaron Nesmith, respectively, Indiana did not produce much of anything, as Siakam's debut was spoiled by Jerami Grant and company.
Portland led for most of the game and, despite an Indiana scare near the end, won by three points. In many ways, this game was the opposite of the Sacramento game the night before, and here are the reasons why.