Monday, March 18 at 10:30 PM ET
The Portland Trail Blazers look to bounce back when they host the Indiana Pacers on Monday night. The Trail Blazers will be without their second leading scorer CJ McCollum.
After exiting last Saturday's 108-103 road loss in San Antonio with an apparent knee injury, CJ McCollum has been diagnosed with a popliteus strain in his left knee.
McCollum's initial X-rays came back negative and the results from his MRI yesterday revealed the injury. The Trail Blazers will re-evaluate McCollum in a week and even though their newfound depth can help them in the next few games, they clearly need their starting shooting guard to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Damian Lillard had 34 points for the Trail Blazers on Saturday but they had difficulty closing the game without McCollum, who scored 10 points on 5 of 13 shooting in 22 minutes before exiting under assistance with 7:03 to play in the third quarter.
Trail Blazers Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Pacers
*Notates expected starter
C: Jusuf Nurkic*, Enes Kanter, Meyers Leonard
PF: Al-Farouq Aminu*, Zach Collins, Skal Labissiere
SF: Maurice Harkless*, Jake Layman
SG: Rodney Hood*, Seth Curry
PG: Damian Lillard*, Evan Turner
McCollum came into the game averaging 21.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists and in his absence, Rodney Hood should be inserted into the starting lineup because he can provide some solid floor spacing and scoring. Hood is averaging 8.7 points in 22.0 minutes over 15 games (one start) with the Trail Blazers.
Not having McCollum makes Jusuf Nurkic the second option on offense behind Damian Lillard and Seth Curry and Evan Turner could also see increased playing time.
The Indiana Pacers are:
2-7 ATS in their last nine road games against a team with a home winning percentage above .600
2-7 ATS in their last nine games against a team with a winning percentage above .600
2-8 ATS in their last 10 road games against a team with a winning home record
The Portland Trail Blazers are:
9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following an ATS loss
12-4 ATS in their last 16 games against a team with a winning straight up record
22-8 ATS in their last 30 games against Eastern Conference opponents
The Trail Blazers won the first meeting 103-93 on October 29 in Indiana, with CJ McCollum and Victor Oladipo leading the way for each squad. McCollum and Oladipo won't play tonight but this is still a can't-miss contest, as both teams look to improve their playoff positioning.
The Pacers played well in Saturday's 102-100 road loss against the Nuggets, they went just 6-for-24 (25.0 percent) from 3-point range and still put up a fight and they will do the same tonight but this Trail Blazers team is tough to beat at home and they have a very deep team, even without McCollum. Look for Portland to get off to a fast start and cover the first half spread.
NBA Pick: Trail Blazers 1st Half -2.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzsportsON