Less than 24 hours after their win against the Chicago Bulls, the Blazers took on an Indiana Pacers team that was looking to avoid its second straight home loss.
The Blazers showed few signs of being the team that was playing the second game of a back-to-back as they took the lead early and never let up. Damian Lillard paced the offense and the Blazers get the win 111-102.
The Blazers were led by Damain Lillard with 33 points and CJ McCollum had 19 points. Indiana was led by Monta Ellis with 18 points.
Damian Lillard was the story for the Blazers in the first quarter, scoring a career-high 20 points in the first, that included a 4-point play late when he went into one his zones that would make Stephen Curry jealous, or at least nod in approval. But, unlike last night's first quarter, he wasn't alone. CJ McCollum, absent most of last night, contributed 7 of his own and Gerald Henderson was brilliant with 6 points in just four minutes off the bench. Defensively, it was a mixed bag for the Blazers. While they showed flashes of individual brilliance, the Pacers got too many easy points in the paint and scored 27 points in the quarter. The good news: Indiana's defense allowed 39 points on 60% shooting as the Blazer ended the quarter on a 21-4 run.
End of First: Portland 39, Indiana 27
A 13-4 run early by Indiana cleaved into Portland's lead as the Blazers allowed too many second chance points, failing to crash the boards as well as they did in the first quarter. The Blazers continued to shoot near 60% for the game as Indiana had no answer for Portland's offense, displaying the type of team chemistry that every team who has been together for less than a season likes to show off. As the Blazers continued to build back their lead, frustrations mounted late for the Pacers as Indiana's coach Frank Vogel inserted himself into the game at one point and received at technical foul. The Blazers shook off a nice Indiana run to take a 10 point lead into halftime. CJ McCollum, rebounding nicely from last night, had 14 for the half. Gerald Henderson had 12 on 6-for-6 shooting and Lillard had 23.
Halftime: Portland 60, Indiana 50
Al-Farouq Aminu continued to absolutely hound Indiana's Paul George, keeping the All-Star forward in check all game. The Pacers couldn't find any space for George as Aminu stuck on him like a french accent on Tony Parker. However, Indiana's defense finally made Portland's offense work a little harder. Shots became more contested and points harder to come by and Indian made another run, cutting the lead to 81-77 with just over 2 minutes to go in the quarter. Both teams struggles to score late, but in the waning seconds of the quarter, Ed Davis found an offensive rebound and dished to Meyers Leonard who nailed a buzzer beater three to end the quarter. Despite a quarter where it seemed Indiana made some head way, Portland lost nothing off its halftime lead.
End of Third: Portland 87, Indiana 77
Meyers Leonard, feeling the heat from that buzzer beater, began the fourth with an 8-2 run of his very own that included a couple of threes. The Blazers opened up a 20-point lead on a remarkable display of ball movement that would have made Coach Norman Dale smile with approval. Just when it seemed the Pacers were waving the white flag, the Pacers made a spirited run late, but Lillard sealed the game in the final minute and the Blazers begin the road trip 2-0.
Portland travels to the Big Apple for a Tuesday showdown against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Tip off is at 4:30 pm. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Dave Deckard.