National Basketball Association
Indiana at Portland
When: 10:30 PM ET, Monday, March 18, 2019
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
The Portland Trail Blazers and the Indiana Pacers are fighting for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs in their respective conferences, and both are losing ground of late. Each team will be trying to bounce back from a loss when the Trail Blazers host the Pacers on Monday.
Portland is 3-3 in its last six games and two of those losses came to teams trailing it in the standings, including a 108-103 setback at San Antonio that capped a three-game road trip on Saturday. "I thought it was a really good basketball game," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts told reporters. "Both teams really defended hard, played hard, had good performances. I thought it was good effort on our part. ... It was disappointing to lose, though." The Pacers opened up a four-game trip - all against Western Conference playoff teams - with their fifth consecutive road loss by falling 102-100 at Denver on Saturday. "It was definitely a back-and-forth game, but we got to figure out a way to overcome it," Indiana forward Thaddeus Young told reporters. "We can't keep putting ourselves in those types of situations where we give ourselves chances to win and then take that chance away from ourselves by making bad plays, bad reads, and not continuing to execute."
10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS Indiana, NBCS Northwest (Portland)ABOUT THE PACERS (44-26):
Indiana scored 60 points in the first half on Saturday but was held to 40 after the break, including 15 in the fourth quarter. "If you look at the game, we got wide open looks," Pacers point guard Darren Collison told reporters. "First half, we hit those shots. Second half, we just didn't hit those shots. It was opposite them. They had wide open looks themselves. Then, in the second half, they started making shots." Collison (17 points) and Young (18 points, 10 rebounds) were two of five scorers with at least 15 points for Indiana in the loss.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (42-27):
Portland is not only worried about the standings but came away Saturday very concerned about the health of shooting guard CJ McCollum, who left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury. "I went for a layup, a left-hand layup," McCollum told reporters. "(Spurs center Jacob Poeltl) blocked it, landed on my foot, kind of trapped my foot on the ground, felt my knee kinda twist. Some pain." X-rays came back negative, but the Trail Blazers will wait for the results of an MRI on McCollum, who averages 21.3 points and had scored at least 23 points in five straight games before Saturday's loss.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Trail Blazers SG Rodney Hood is averaging 15 points off the bench over the last two games.
2. Pacers SG Tyreke Evans (illness) returned from a three-game absence on Saturday and scored five points in 16 minutes off the bench.
3. Portland took the last three in the series, including a 103-93 win at Indiana on Oct. 29.PREDICTION:
Trail Blazers 103, Pacers 98
Stats and Records