Thursday, Jan. 14: Pacers 111, Blazers 87
The skinny: It was a bad night for the Trail Blazers as they began a long, seven-game homestand Thursday at Moda Center.
Not only did Indiana take down the Blazers and their four-game winning streak with a 111-87 win, but Portland lost a valuable player.
Jusuf Nurkic suffered a fractured right wrist, the Blazers said. It purportedly happened when he swiped at the ball on defense.
"It's a big setback for both him and us," coach Terry Stotts said.
So, with their center out, and probably out for several weeks, the Blazers (7-5) had to adjust. It just wasn't their night.
In the second of back-to-back games for Portland, the Pacers outscored the Blazers 33-10 in the second quarter and never looked back.
After combining for 68 points and 23 assists (and one turnover) the night before at Sacramento, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum each had 22 points and four assists and a combined six of Portland's 18 turnovers.
Portland shot just .368 from the field and .302 from the 3-point line (13 of 43).
Malcolm Brogdon led Indiana (8-4) with 25 points. Domantas Sabonis had 23 points and 15 rebounds.
Big injuries: So, the Blazers are now down two big players they expected to contribute — Nurkic and Zach Collins, the same two players who have battled injuries in recent seasons.
It's a good thing the Blazers acquired Enes Kanter, who started at center for them during their push to the 2019 NBA Western Conference finals.
One would also assume that Harry Giles, the young and athletic forward/center, works into the rotation.
Tough stretch: Nurkic came back from a brutal broken leg suffered in 2019 to return to the lineup during the NBA bubble last summer. At the time Nurkic revealed that his grandmother suffered from COVID-19 (and she later passed away).
He's also talked about being distracted by a family issue back in his native Bosnia.
Quotable: "It's an unfortunate part of the game, but it's gonna be a challenge and I'm looking forward to seeing how we respond to it," McCollum said.
Next up: The Blazers play Atlanta at 7 p.m. Saturday at Moda Center.
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