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Recap: Minus McCollum, Blazers Hold Off Pacers, 106-98

The Blazers almost blew it, but did just enough to hold on for an important victory.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers looked like stiff competition for the first Blazers opponent sans CJ McCollum; instead, Indiana just looked stiff most of the night. The Blazers outclassed the listless Pacers through three quarters, then desperately held on late to win an important game, 106-98 (box score).

  • All Damian, all the time. Lillard continued his recent dominance, showing an all-around game including some nice defensive flashes. However, he didn’t need to shoot the majority of Portland’s shots, instead successfully spreading the offense around. He had 30 points on 16 shots, with 15 assists.
  • Rotating Starters. Jake Layman opened the game with the starters, but after a slow start, Terry Stotts moved to Rodney Hood. Hood then joined the starters after halftime as the team went on a run.
  • A rough ending. In need of a comeback, moribund Indiana picked up their defense in the fourth to playoff intensity, and Portland struggled with multiple turnovers, seemingly trying to give the game away. But they held on. And that’s good because...
  • They needed this one. Denver, San Antonio, and Utah won tonight, while OKC and Golden State lost. Portland needed a win to keep pace, and they got one. They’re still in the fourth seed, while the Spurs jumped into fifth.

What’s Next

Portland hangs out at home to wait for the Dallas Mavericks.