The return of Damian Lillard to steady the ship early and often, integrating back into a lineup with Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simons offensively who’ve been some of the most productive offensive players in the league in Lillard’s absence. Tonight the trio all scored 21 or more points, combining for 71 points, 15 assists, 12 rebounds and 13-29 from the three point line to help put the Pacers away for good.
Josh Hart made his return, albeit looking visibly limited, Hart went out and picked up a double-double leading the Blazers in rebounding with 10 while scoring 11 more. Billups noted post game how he’s been the heart and soul of the team and they look to him for energy and not so subtlety hinted at Hart playing through quite a bit right now.
Jusuf Nurkic filled in a great 2nd half again after looking mildly impactful in the 1st half, Nurkic came out physical in the 3rd quarter posting up and knocking back Myles Turner with a handful of post bumps before stepping through and dunking. Again he made his physical presence known and the impact was apparent, the lanes were shut off more so with Nurkic offering more resistance at the rim while turning in a 19 points, six-rebound & four-assist night.
Now two games over .500 and with three days in a row off, Coach Chauncey Billups said the team will focus on rest before getting back to practice, as he noted pregame, “you gotta trust the science” behind necessary rest before getting back to the grind of practice.