1. Non-existent bench production
This may seem surprising at first, but it ends up being more understandable when you look a bit deeper. Regularly touted as having one of the better bench units in the league, the Indiana Pacers bench unit was the exact thing that kept them out of this game.
Just one night after having 34 points and leading a short-handed Pacers team to victory against the Kings, the Pacers bench massively underperformed against Portland, scoring only 14 points and shooting an abhorrent 4/24 from the field.
Bennedict Mathurin, in particular, was terrible. One night after leading the way for Indiana with 25 points, Mathurin shot an abysmal 0/8 from the field and scored 2 points in 23 minutes on the court, all from free throws.
While it is understandable why the bench would be sluggish here, as they had just come off a grueling win in Sacramento with increased roles, shooting 4/24 is completely inexcusable, no matter the context.
Without the starters on the court, the Pacers looked more like a glorified G League team as the tandem of Jalen Smith, Obi Toppin, and Mathurin looked like shells of who they were just a day ago in Sacramento.
With Indiana being given a day of rest before their final game of the road trip on Sunday against Phoenix, one can hope this would be enough time for everyone to get adequate rest in anticipation of another crack at Pascal Siakam's first win in Indy.