Pascal Siakam was acquired from the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday in a trade for Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora and three first-round draft picks. Siakam was on the trade block because he is slated to become a free agent after the season.
The Pacers are eager to see what Siakam can do when paired with star guard Tyrese Haliburton as part of Indiana’s high-octane offense.
Haliburton is nearing his return from a left hamstring injury. He has missed the past five games, including a 126-121 victory over the host Sacramento Kings on Thursday.
The Pacers won despite being highly short-handed. Aaron Nesmith (shin) and Andrew Nembhard (back) sat out and the rotation was dented by the trade of Brown and Nwora.
Bennedict Mathurin led Indiana with 25 points and T.J. McConnell added 20 points and 10 assists.
McConnell said the entire team stepped up to fill the void. He also is looking forward to seeing Siakam.
Portland is coming off a high moment as Anfernee Simons knocked down a driving floater with 0.2 seconds left to give the Trail Blazers a 105-103 win over the visiting Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
The victory was just the second in nine games for Portland — both came against the Nets.
Simons, who is battling an illness, tallied 20 points on 8-of-20 shooting. Though he was struggling to find the mark, he insisted that he was going to take the shot, according to Portland coach Chauncey Billups.
Jerami Grant led Portland with 30 points and eight rebounds. It was Grant’s fifth 30-point outing of the campaign.
One of the others came when Grant scored 34 points on 12-of-18 shooting as the Trail Blazers defeated the Pacers 114-110 on Nov. 27 in Indianapolis. Haliburton scored 33 points on 11-of-17 shooting for the Pacers.
The Trail Blazers are hoping to have big man Deandre Ayton available after a 12-game absence. He missed 11 games with a knee injury and then was absent Wednesday when he was unable to get out of his neighborhood due to icy roads stemming from a winter storm hitting the Portland area.