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The Portland Trail Blazers ended their 6-game losing streak in style, bringing energy and drive against a stumped Indiana Pacer team.
The Blazers were led by the always-great LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points on 17 shots) and an amazing 20 point, 8 assist, 0 turnover night by Damian Lillard . JJ Hickson (14 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists) had one of his best games as a Blazer, and Nicolas Batum (10 points, 8 assists) continued his passing frenzy. The entire team had a solid night, including some nice contributions from the bench.
First Quarter: Finally, a game that did not start with a Blazer meltdown. Indiana saw an inspired Portland team show up, including an early appearance by Lillard, who kept the defense honest with a few jumpers. The Blazer defense kept Indiana from making a surge, and the Blazers held a 3 point lead after one.As a bonus, Aldridge got a nice rest while the Blazers maintained the lead.
Mike Rice says JJ is worth his weight in gold. $5.95 mil, sounds good to me.
Second Quarter: The lead was gone in seconds, thanks to an Indy three-pointer. However, they didn't prepare for... Will Barton. After a rough previous game, Barton helped spark a Blazer run to take a 10 point lead. Ronnie Price added a few nice plays, Aldridge was his usual self, scoring 8 straight to push the lead to 16. However, the sloppy play reappeared (9 Blazer turnovers in the first half), and Indiana closed to within 12 by the horn. However, the Blazers held them to 32 points in the half.
Lillard's not going to know what to do. They are going to have a bigger lead when he comes back in then when he sat.
by Jeremy Wonderly
Third Quarter: Rough start to the third, as Indy quickly cut the lead to single digits. The Blazers blew multiple possessions, and the Pacers went inside to test Portland's interior defense. It worked for a while, but the Blazers doubled down on defense, and stayed focused on offense (including a wonderful breakaway dunk for Aldridge). The Pacers took a timeout, down by 13. And the timeout worked, as they hit consecutive three-pointers, including a foul, for 7 points in 30 seconds. The Blazers would bend but not break, as they kept the lead above 5 through the quarter, thanks to some heads-up plays at both ends, and some solid contributions from the bench. Lillard shined, with two amazing drives for three-point plays. Thanks to that late run, the Blazer lead was still 11 headed into the fourth.
Who knew Damian Lillard was getting engaged? He went to Jared.
by tevisthe4th [Insert rimshot here]
Fourth Quarter: Hello Blazers! The run continued to start the fourth, and the lead reached 17 within 2 minutes. They maintained it for a few, but Indiana got hot from three. Combined with a few "it's time to head to the bench" plays from Barton, and the lead was suddenly 11. The Blazers called timeout. Lillard continued to slice up the Indy D, bumping the lead to 15 with five minutes left. After that, the lead was never in doubt. The Pacers, normally a solid defensive team, simply could not stop the Blazers tonight, who clearly came out inspired to win. And win they did, in front of an excited Rose Garden crowd. Back to .500!