A renewed effort on defense, plus a balanced scoring attack, minus one Paul George, plus a little Lillard Time at the end equals a 131-109 win over the Indiana Pacers
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard with 28 points and 10 assists and 4 steals. Moe Harkless added 23 points. The Pacers were led by Jeff Teague with 25 points and 8 assists.
With all the focus on figuring out how stop opponents from scoring at will, the Blazers came out with renewed effort on defense and the effort showed, thought it was made a bit easier with All-Star Paul George out of the lineup tonight for the Indiana Pacers. Portland held Indiana to below 40% shooting and were able to get out to a comfortable 22-13 start. It was the Blazers who owned the paint in the quarter, outscoring the Pacers 18-6 from inside. Moe Harkless got off to a nice start and Evan Turner came off the bench to continue his upward trend to lead a balanced attack on offense with seven Blazers contributing points in the period.
End of First: Portland 31, Indiana 23
Evan Turner, in a span of a few seconds, gave fans a reason to believe in patience. Leading 41-19, Turner dished a smooth pass to Allen Crabbe for a reverse lay-in. Moments later, Turner recieved a full court pass that appeared errant but Turner caught it at the baseline just beyond the arc and drained a three. 46-29 Portland. At one point, four Blazers (Mason Plumlee, Harkless, Crabbe, and Turner) were in double-figure scoring and none of them were CJ McCollum or Damian Lillard. Harkelss in particular was on hotter than a Rogue One ticket, finishing with 15 points for the half. The Pacers hung around thanks in particular to making a living at the free-throw line, feasting on a 20-5 advantage, perhaps a side effect of Portland’s rejuvenated effort on defense. Lillard’s late surge helped the Blazers to a healthy lead to end the half. Dame led the Blazers with 18 points. The Pacers were led by Myles Turner with 15.
Halftime: Portland 73, Indiana 58
McCollum took his own advice and came out like the Pacers stole his lunch money. He lifted the Blazers to a 20-point lead after netting five straight points to begin the quarter. He then played the rest of the period as if they talked bad about his Mom, scoring 15 of the Blazers first 17. The Blazers continued to play solid defense on the other end and if it weren’t for Turner or Jeff Teague, one wonders where the Pacers would find any offense. Portland continued to pour it on offensively much of the third, sprinkling every from threes to alley-oops, and entered the last quarter on the right side of a lopsided game.
End of Third: Portland 109, Indiana 83
The Pacers used a 9-0 run to start the quarter, temporarily ceasing all the good vibes flowing through the Moda Center. Aaron Brooks, who earlier benefited from a wrong call on Evan Turner by the refs, nailed a three to cut the lead to 13. From there it went back and forth as the Blazers’ defense showed signs of cracking, but Lillard hit an array of tough shots to keep the Pacers at a distance. By the time the Blazers put the lead back to 18 with two minutes left, the Blazers emptied their bench before securing the win.
The Blazers begin the month of December with a home game against the Miami Heat on Saturday night. Tip off is at 7pm. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Eric Griffith.