Our event of the day is the heavyweight clash in the NBA between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Indiana Pacers at the Moda Center. Both sides currently reside fourth in their respective divisions and a win tonight for either franchise will all but secure a playoff spot. The Pacers will be looking to bounce back after they narrowly lost out to the Nuggets in the Mile High City last week. Meanwhile, tonight’s hosts will also be desperate to return to winning ways after Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs ran out 108-103 over the Trail Blazers at the weekend. Portland have suffered vastly mixed fortunes this term and have struggled to instil any form of consistency into their season thus far. They have largely relied on their home form to propel themselves into the playoff places, as only Denver and San Antonio have lost fewer games on their home court in the entire conference. The Trail Blazers have once again been led by seven-year pro Damian Lillard who has averaged 26.1 points per game this term and recently surpassed LaMarcus Aldridge to become Portland’s second all-time scorer. He will be looking to make his sixth straight appearance in the playoffs this term as the Trail Blazers go in search of their first NBA championship since 1977.
With the Bucks and the Raptors becoming the first two teams to secure a playoff berth this term, Indiana will be hoping to follow suit as the business end of the season continues. Though Portland have proven a particularly tough nut to crack on their home court this season, only the aforementioned conference leaders have won more games on the road than the Pacers in the East and they will look to notch their 18th away win of the season tonight. Though they have been playoff regulars in recent years, having qualified in seven of the last eight campaigns, the Pacers haven’t appeared in a NBA Finals series since the 1999/00 season, on which occasion they lost out to the Lakers 4-2. These two franchises last faced off way back in October, on which occasion the Trail Blazers ran out 103-93 winners.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the NHL where the San Jose Sharks welcome the Vegas Golden Knights to the SAP Center. These Pacific Division rivals currently sit second and third respectively, but San Jose hold an 11-point lead over the Golden Knights which they will look to extend as the sides take to the ice tonight. Elsewhere, there is plenty more action in the NBA as the Boston Celtics host the Denver Nuggets whilst the San Antonio Spurs will entertain the reigning champs as the Golden State Warriors come to town. Across the pond, Mansfield Town will do battle with league leaders Lincoln City at the One Call Stadium where a win for the visitors will see them move eight points clear atop the EFL League Two standings. Meanwhile, Afghanistan and Ireland clash at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun as Day 4 of their only Test gets underway.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by NBA
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