Pascal Siakam made his Indiana Pacers debut on Friday night, but the Portland Trail Blazers spoiled the party by beating Indy, 118-115, at the Moda Center.
The Blazers, who currently have the second-worst record in the Western Conference, captured a rare win behind big performances from veterans Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon.
Grant finished with 37 points on 14-of-28 from the field, while Brogdon filled the stat sheet with 30 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
Grant and Brogdon carried the offensive load for Portland, who were without young stars Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe in the game. Then, in the second half, the Blazers lost 2023 No. 3 overall pick Scoot Henderson after he suffered a nasal contusion. Henderson had 10 points at halftime.
The 29-year-old Siakam, who was traded to Indiana from the Toronto Raptors, scored 21 points on 65% shooting from the field. Siakam's Pacers debut coincided with Tyrese Haliburton's return from a hamstring injury, and the two are starting the process of developing chemistry and learning to play together.
Haliburton, who played for the first time since Jan. 2, racked up 21 points and 17 assists with 0 turnovers. This marked his sixth career 20+ point, 15+ assist game with no turnovers — the most in NBA history.
Indiana's stars played well, as Myles Turner also contributed 29 points and 12 rebounds with 6 triples, including one to cut the lead down to 3 points. However, the Pacers just could not get it done at the end with their comeback being a little too late.
The Pacers are now 24-18 (tied for the sixth-best record in the East) and will head to Phoenix to face the Suns and try to get their first win of the Siakam era.