Blazers look to continue dominance over Pacers without McCollum
The Portland Trail Blazers' starting lineup will take a different look Monday night when the Indiana Pacers come calling.
The Blazers will be without starting shooting guard CJ McCollum, who went down with a knee injury in the third quarter of Saturday's 108-103 loss at San Antonio.
"That's a big blow," point guard Damian Lillard said. "He is a guy who plays a huge role for us and is a big part of the team.
"We definitely have guys who can come in and make up for the scoring by committee, but that means they won't be in the role they're usually in. Either way you slice it, you're going to lose something. We're going to have to lean on each other a little bit more."
A Sunday MRI showed that McCollum - who is averaging 21.3 points per game - had a strained left knee. He will be re-evaluated in a week.
"You never want to get hurt - not ever," McCollum said Saturday night. "Especially at this point in the season. Nothing I can do about it but rehab and see what (doctors) say."
Coach Terry Stotts will likely turn to either Rodney Hood, Seth Curry or Evan Turner to fill McCollum's spot.
"CJ is a guy who can score 50 points in three quarters (as he did last February against Chicago)," said Indiana guard Wesley Matthews, who played with McCollum during his first two seasons in Portland. "You take that out of it, (the Blazers) are a different team.
"But they have guys who are capable of stepping up and filling the gap. We know we're going to have our hands full. They're really tough to beat, especially on their home court."
The Blazers have prevailed in seven of the last eight meetings with the Pacers. Indiana, which hasn't won in Portland since 2007, has lost nine straight on the Blazers' home court. The Blazers (42-27) are 25-9 at home this season. They are in fourth place in the Western Conference standings.
Portland is the second stop on a four-game road swing for Indiana (44-26), which is now a game behind Philadelphia (45-25) and in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. No. 5 Boston is a game back of the Pacers at 43-27.
The Pacers lost Game 1 of their trip.
Indiana rallied from a 96-85 deficit with 4:50 to play to tie it at 100-100 before Paul Millsap hit a jump shot with seven seconds left to give Denver a 102-100 win over the Pacers on Saturday night. Bojan Bogdanovic's 3-point shot for the win bounced off the rim with two seconds left.
"We can't keep putting ourselves in those type of situations, where we give ourselves a chance to win and then take that chance away by making bad plays, bad reads and not continuing to execute," said Indiana forward Thaddeus Young, who led the Pacers with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
"Whenever you take an 'L,' it's just tough. But especially in the situation we're in right now, trying to fight for homecourt advantage and the third spot (in the East)."
--Field Level Media
Updated March 17, 2019