Indiana (9-9) at Portland (9-10)
When: Wednesday, November 30th 2016
Where: Moda Center, Portland, OR
Time: 10:00 ET | TV: NBA TV
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The Indiana Pacers will look to keep their momentum going despite not having All-Star forward Paul George when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night. Indiana has won two straight without George including an impressive 21-point victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday after winning by the same amount two night’s earlier against Brooklyn. George is sidelined with an ankle injury and is expceted to miss a few more games as the Pacers embark on a five-game road trip that will end December 9th in Dallas. The back-to-back victories without George was encouraging to veterans Jeff Teague and Al Jefferson as the Pacers attempt to claim their first three-game winning streak of the season. “For us to be shorthanded and they had their full team, we go out there and do what we did (Sunday), that shows a lot,” Jefferson told reporters. Indiana has not fared well in the Rose City, losing seven straight contests.
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Portland is in the midst of a four-game home stretch in which they have started 1-1 despite averaging 116.5 points in those two contests. The Blazers offense is clicking, scoring at least 100 in 17 of their 19 games, but they are still under .500. Why? Their defense is horrendous. They are ranked 29th out of 30 in scoring, allowing 113.7 points a game including 137 to Cleveland and 130 to Houston in the last three games. Point guard Damian Lillard is getting a little frustrated. “You look at the Cleveland game, we scored (125) points and we lose. That’s a lot of points to score and not win the game.” They’re ranked fourth in the league in scoring offense (109.7) and hit 36.3% of their three-pointers (9th). Shooting guard C.J. McCollum has scored 24 or more points in five of the past seven contests and is averaging 22.3 on the season. Portland is only two games back of Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division and will get Miami on Saturday to end the homestand before going on the road for eight of their next nine games.
Indiana won’t be able to win every game without George and they’ll be tested in Portland tonight. The Blazers should be able to hold down the short-handed Pacers enough to pull out the victory in this one easily. The Pacers are just 1-5 on the road this season.
Pick: Blazers -8