NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, January 23rd
(All times Eastern)
Indiana Pacers (26-16) at Portland Trail Blazers (20-21), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Nicolas Batum recorded the first triple-double of his
career the last time on the floor and it still wasn't enough to break the
Portland Trail Blazers' season-high losing streak.
Batum and the Blazers will give it another shot Wednesday night versus the
Indiana Pacers in the continuation of a five-game homestand at the Rose
Garden. In a buzzer-beating 98-95 loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday,
Batum had 12 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He also added three steals
and two blocks in Portland's sixth straight defeat.
"It's tough because we played so good," Batum said. "We're mad at ourselves
because we know we're better than them."
Normally a threat from downtown, Batum missed all three of his 3-point
attempts, but is fourth in the NBA with 98 made. He is the first Blazer to
post a triple-double since Brandon Roy in 2008 and 14th in team lore. Batum
joins LeBron James and Rajon Rondo as the only players to register three
steals and two blocks in a triple-double this season.
LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds against Washington,
which prevailed on Jordan Crawford's game-winning 3-pointer. Rookie Damian
Lillard scored 18 points and Wesley Matthews notched 17 in defeat. Aldridge
has nine double-doubles this month, which is tied for most in the league.
The Blazers have lost by no more than six points during the current slide and
have played 10 games in a row decided by six points or less. They are 8-5 this
season in games decided by five points. Portland's last seven-game losing
streak came at the end of the truncated 2011-12 campaign.
In injury news, Lillard is questionable Wednesday with a sore right hamstring
and leads all rookies in scoring (18.3 ppg) and assists (6.6 apg). Lillard's
also tied for fifth overall in the NBA with 94 3-pointers made.
The Blazers are 0-3 on the homestand, 13-8 as the host and winless in the last
four games at the Rose Garden, where they will open a home-and-home series
with the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. Portland will then head to Los
Angeles Sunday evening.
Meanwhile, the Central Division-leading and defensive-minded Pacers will
resume their four-game western road trip Wednesday and opened the swing with
an 82-81 triumph at Memphis Monday night.
George Hill split a pair of free throws with 1.4 seconds left and ended with
13 points. Paul George had 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a
winning cause. Grizzlies sharp-shooter Rudy Gay buried a shot at the top of
the key as time expired, but it was ruled late.
"We know how hard Memphis is to beat in this building. They're one of the top
five or six teams in the whole league. This is a good confidence builder for
us," said Indiana forward David West, who had 14 points, tied a career-high
with five blocks and snagged a season high-tying three steals in the Pacers'
seventh win in nine tries.
Indiana is first in defense, allowing 89.1 ppg, and is 16-5 in its last 21
games. The Pacers still have Utah and Denver to visit on the sojourn and own a
10-13 record outside of the Hoosier State and a 12-6 mark in matchups with the
West. They're also tied with the defending champion Miami Heat for the most
wins in the Eastern Conference with 26.
The Pacers won the first meeting of the season with Portland by a 99-92 score
at home on Dec. 5 and are unbeaten in the last three matchups in this series.
Indiana is 12-5 in the previous 17 contests against the Blazers, but winless
in the last three encounters in the Rose City.
01/23 10:33:22 ET