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Pascal Siakam expected to debut with Pacers at Trail Blazers

Jan 12, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) lays the ball up past Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24) during the third quarter at Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Pascal Siakam is expected to make his Pacers debut when Indiana visits the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.

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.

“This is a guy that we’ve really admired for a long time as a player,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “Heard great things about him as a person, as a teammate. He’s a worker. The 6-9 playmaking power forwards in this league are at an all-time premium if you can get one of them.

“Pascal is a guy with a lot of diverse skills on both ends of the floor. We think he’s a good match with Tyrese and a good fit on our team.”

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.

“We trade for a big-time player in Pascal, and we’re excited to have him,” McConnell said after Indiana improved to 2-2 on a six-game road trip. “He’s a special player.”

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.

“(I) was able to get some space, thought there was a little bit of confusion,” Simons said while describing the game-winning shot. “In the coverage they called, I think they were supposed to double (team) or something. I tried to go before the double came and was able to get to a comfortable little shot, my floater, and it went in.”

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.

“He wasn’t taking no for an answer on that,” Billups said. “And he had been struggling a little bit, he hasn’t been feeling great, his energy was pretty low. But man, he made a big-time shot.”

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.

–Field Level Media

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