The Indiana Pacers were dreadful on defense last season.
Take for instance, that on May 3, against the Washington Wizards they allowed the Wizards to score 154 points.
On the season they allowed their opposition to score 115.7 points per game last season, which was 26th out of the 30 NBA teams (via TeamRankings).
In the last three games of the season, they allowed their opponents to score 124 points per game.
Simply stated: they were dreadful on the defensive side of the basketball in 2020-21.
That's why it is interesting that they were able to keep one of the best players on planet earth relatively in check.
Last year, Damian Lillard was an All-Star and averaged 28.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.
Yet, when Lillard faced the Pacers he was nowhere near those points and assists numbers.
In the two games he played against the Pacers he averaged 22.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.
2.5 assists less than his season average, and even more surprisingly over 6 points less than his scoring average.
The Pacers won the first game on January 14, in Portland by a score of 111-87.
The Trail Blazers responded with a 133-112 win in Indiana on April 27.
Both games were blowouts, but Lillard still played 33.4 minutes per game in those two contests.
His shooting numbers were not good from the field, but he shot well from the three-point range (43.3% FG/ 46.2% 3P).
The Pacers going 1-1 agains the Blazers while totally keeping Lillard in check is definitely not something that would be expected based on how their season went.