We’re about to discover what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.
Can the Pacers (44-26, 17-17 away), who have the third best defensive rating in the NBA, impede the Trail Blazers (42-27, 25-9 home), who have the league’s fourth best offensive rating? We’ll find out soon, as tip off time for this highly anticipated game is 10:30 p.m. EST on Monday, March 18 at Moda Center.
The Trail Blazers haven’t had any problem putting the ball in the hoop this year. They’re averaging 114.0 points per game on 44.0% shooting from the floor and 36.0% from downtown. Portland ranks 13th in field goal percentage and 13th in three-point percentage in the Association. Most of the heavy lifting has been done by Damian Lillard, who is leading the Trail Blazers with 26.1 points per game on 43.0% shooting, and CJ McCollum, who is chipping in 21.3 points per game.
Their defense is another matter altogether. Portland is surrendering 110.5 points per contest and ranks 15th in field goals allowed and 3rd in threes allowed. They’ll need to be far better tonight to have any chance of pulling out a win.
Defense has been the Pacers’s calling card all season. They’re first in fewest points allowed at 103.9 points per game, and are limiting opposing teams to just 46.0% from the field and 36.0% from deep. Indiana uses its size and length to force 16 turnovers per game and is 24th in the NBA in rebounding at 43.0 per night.
Unfortunately, Indiana has a way to go before its offense catches up to its superb defense. The Pacers are generating 108.0 points on 45.0% shooting from the floor and 37.0% from beyond the arc. They rank 24th in rebounds and eighth in dimes.
These two teams have already met once this season. The last time they played on October 29th, 2018, Portland won 103-93 behind 17 points from Zach Collins.
The Trail Blazers are coming off of a 108-103 loss against the Spurs in San Antonio in which they were 7 for 28 from deep and won the war on the glass 58-49. The Pacers are fresh off a 100-102 loss against the Nuggets in Denver in which they dished out 20 assists and came up with six steals. Thaddeus Young led the team with 18 points.
The Trail Blazers began the day as 3.0-point favorites for this game, with an over/under total of 214. Indiana is 36-34-0 against the spread this season and 29-41-0 over/under, compared to 39-30-0 ATS and 37-32-0 over/under for Portland.