Portland needed to close their five game road trip with a win with San Antonio coming to town on Monday. They did that and more.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 19 points and 14 rebounds, Damian Lillard had 18, and the Blazers managed to fight off the Indiana Pacers 95-85 Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The win snapped a two game losing streak, and ended Portland's five game road trip with a 3-2 record.
The two stars from the night before started ice cold for the Blazers, as Lillard and Aldridge started 2-for-14 from the field. The slack was picked up by Nicolas Batum, who scored seven in the quarter, grabbed two rebounds and added two steals. Indiana grabbed a lead near the end of the quarter on drives by Rodney Stuckey, and led by one after one.
In the second, the Blazers took off so hard, the aftershocks were felt in Chicago. The team hit 10 of their first 11 shots, including two threes from Wesley Matthews. The first three placed him alone in second place for three-point shots made in Portland Trail Blazers history, passing Damon Stoudamire. The bench went ballistic, with Steve Blake leading the charge. Blake scored six in the period, added six assists, and forced a key steal. Overall, the bench scored 20 in the first half after scoring just 15 all game versus Chicago. Lillard hit 3-of-5 shots in the period, and the Blazers went into halftime leading by 20.
The Blazers expanded their lead to as many as 29 in the third quarter with Aldridge scored 11 in the period, but Indiana started getting shots to fall behind C.J. Watson and David West. Some bad mistakes by Portland near the end of the period resulted in a 7-0 Pacer run, and they closed to within 16 after three.
Both teams decided that winning the game was optional if the first six minutes of the fourth was any indication. Portland shot 1-of-9, Indiana shot 2-of-10, and the teams combined for nine turnovers. Portland second basket of the quarter came off a bizarre tip by Robin Lopez on a shot by Batum that ricocheted well over the rim before somehow going in. Watson attempted to lead the Pacers back, getting them as close as six, but Aldridge and Lillard countered to hold serve.
Chris Kaman had 10 off the bench, and Steve Blake finished with eight points and seven assists.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night
Things work so much better when Nic plays like this.
And when we hit some threes early to open up the offense
The Pacers are the opposite of King Midas. Every game they touch, they make it ugly. But hey, Blazers win and avoid the three game losing streak! Yay for that. Now let’s get some well earned rest.
The Trail Blazers have now held their opponents to 90 points or fewer in 10 games this season, most in the NBA.— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) December 14, 2014
Asked if was happy to get the road trip over, Lopez said: "I miss my cat" #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) December 14, 2014
. @wessywes2 said he was unaware that he had past Damon Stoudamire for second in franchise history in made 3s— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 14, 2014
Matthews called this game "most important" of the season for #Blazers ...didn't want to drop 3 straight before returning home— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) December 14, 2014
Blazer bench was a +24 in 67 minutes tonight. Not always about scoring or getting stops. Production is what matters most.— Mike Barrett (@blazermb) December 14, 2014
@SteveBlake5 now has 104 assists off the bench this season. He's #1 the NBA in that category. Had 7 tonight.— Mike Barrett (@blazermb) December 14, 2014