Without Myles Turner, the Pacers chances weren’t great against a Portland Trailblazers team that won its first game by 48 points without its second-best player in CJ McCollum.
While the Pacers kept themselves in the game for awhile, they couldn’t keep up with the Blazers, who ultimately won by a score of 114-96.
Victor Oladipo provided the highlight of the night with a beautiful finish on an alley oop that made many audibly gasp.
Past the highlight dunk, Oladipo struggled to find his jump shot, scoring 17 points, but making just five of his 17 attempts.
Shooting consistency will be a common problem for the Pacers this season as Lance Stephenson continued his early shooting struggles with a 1 for 5 night. Cory Joseph and Domantas Sabonis also made just one of their five attempts.
The Pacers bright spot of the evening was the play of rookie TJ Leaf, who tied for the team lead in scoring with 17 points in only 19 minutes.
After looking a little nervous and timid in his 10 minutes of play in the opener, Leaf was aggressive and made 7 of his 11 shot attempts, including a pair of 3-pointers.
He showed his array of scoring abilities with the pick and pop threes and driving when a defender closes out too hard on his jump shot.
“He played real well today,” said Oladipo on Leaf. “Hopefully it helps his confidence. The sky’s the limit for him. He’s so young.”
While Leaf has a long way to go on the defensive end, this was a very encouraging game for the young player.
“Any time he can come off the bench and do what he did tonight, it’s huge for us,” said Thaddeus Young, “because it builds his confidence up.”
The Pacers will be without Myles Turner for a second consecutive night as they play the Miami Heat on Saturday.