NBA News Wire
Trail Blazers 88, Pacers 82
PORTLAND, Ore. — Guard Damian Lillard scored 23 points, and the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Indiana Pacers for a 88-82 win Thursday night at the Moda Center.
Forward LaMarcus Aldridge collected 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Trail Blazers (15-4), who won for the 12th time in the past 13 outings.
Guard Rodney Stuckey scored 16 points, and forward Solomon Hill added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers (7-12), who lost their third consecutive game.
Neither team shot as high as 40 percent for the game — Portland finished at 39.8 percent, Indiana at 39.6 percent. The Blazers won the game at the free-throw line, making 18 of 23 attempts to only five of eight for the Pacers.
Indiana forward Luis Scola’s scoop shot tied the count at 66-66 early in the final period. Portland scored 11 straight to jump on top 77-66 with 5:30 to play. It was 82-73 when the Pacers made a final push, two free throws by Stuckey closing the gap to 82-78 with 1:21 remaining.
Center Robin Lopez sank one of two at the line to make it 83-78 with 1:04 left. Stuckey drive drove for a basket with just under a minute left, pulling the Pacers within 83-80.
Aldridge sank two foul shots to up the advantage to 85-80 with 36.6 seconds left, and the Blazers salted the game away at the line.
Neither team could get anything going offensively early. It was 10-10 midway through the first quarter until the Blazers — who were 6-for-24 from the field through the first 12 minutes — muscled up enough offense to take a 16-14 lead into the second quarter.
Portland’s lead was 32-24 when Indiana rattled off seven straight to close to within 32-31. The Blazers, despite shooting 36.6 percent in the half, took a 38-33 edge into intermission. Indiana was even worse, connecting at a 35.7 percent clip with 13 turnovers.
The Blazers took the advantage to 42-33 early in the third quarter, but the Pacers again scored seven in a row to make it 42-40.
Indiana was still down only 46-44 when Portland went on an 8-0 run to go in front 54-44. The Pacers scored the next seven to trim the margin to 54-51. The Blazers led 62-59 heading into the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Indiana gave up a whopping 38 fast-break points in a 116-99 loss Tuesday at Phoenix, with Suns guards Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe combining for 61 points. “We were frustrated we gave up 116 points,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “That’s not us. Our transition defense wasn’t close to good enough, but in the half-court we guarded them pretty well. They made tough shot after tough shot in the second half.” … The Pacers brought F Paul George and G George Hill, who both have missed the entire season with injuries, on the four-game trip that ends Friday at Sacramento. Hill (knee) will start non-contact workouts next week and could be back in two weeks. George (leg) is likely lost for the year. … Vogel called Trail Blazers F LaMarcus Aldridge and G Damian Lillard “one of the, if not the, toughest guard-big tandem in the NBA.”
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