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Indiana at Portland

Blazers hang on, end Pacers' winning streak at seven

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- After Portland had withstood a late barrage from the Indiana Pacers and Paul George, the Trail Blazers gathered at midcourt and raised their hands together.

It might be early in the season, but this was a statement victory for the Blazers.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points and 10 rebounds and Portland downed Indiana 106-102 on Monday night, snapping the Pacers' seven-game winning streak. Damian Lillard added 26.

"It was a tough one, and we knew it was going to be a tough one going in," Lillard said. "They're a good team, they only had one loss. But we're a good team too, and we wanted to prove that."

Paul George had a career-high 43 points for Pacers (16-2), who own the NBA's best record.

The Blazers pulled in front early in the fourth quarter, but the Pacers kept it close and George hit consecutive 3-pointers that narrowed it to 98-96 with 1:37 left. Lillard answered with a 3-pointer and Nicolas Batum made a pair of free throws for the Blazers before George hit another 3-pointer that got Indiana within 103-99 with 21 seconds to go.

Lillard hit free throws and George made yet another 3 with 10 seconds left to make it 105-102, but the Pacers couldn't get closer. Portland (15-3) is off to its best start since the 1998-99 season.

"I really wanted to get this win," said George, one of only four Indiana players to score 43 or more points in a game since 2000. "I was trying to will us into the game."

Both teams were playing the second of a back-to-back. The Blazers beat the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 114-108, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Lakers at the Staples Center.

The Pacers (16-2) were coming off a 105-100 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday to open a five-game road trip.

"They're a great offensive team and they made big shots all game long," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said of Portland. "Hopefully that's what it's going to take to beat this team -- making impossible shot after impossible shot."

Earlier Monday, the NBA named Vogel the Eastern Conference coach of the month for November. Portland's Terry Stotts was named coach of the month for the Western Conference.

The Pacers went 15-1 in November and opened the season with a nine-game winning streak for the best start in franchise history. The Blazers went 13-3 under Stotts to start the season, including an 11-game winning streak.

While Stotts acknowledged it was a big win, he stopped short of the whole "statement" thing.

"We played the most complete game from beginning to end: Execution, effort, mental focus. All of those things," he said. "But I don't believe you play statement games in December.

George had a 14-foot jumper that gave the Pacers an early 20-11 lead, but the Blazers hung close through the first half. Mo Williams, who helped Portland keep up with seven points, had three fouls and was sent to the bench.

The Blazers finished out the first half with a 9-3 run to get within 46-45 at the break.

Aldridge's dunk pulled Portland within 59-54 midway through the third quarter, but George answered with an 18-foot jumper on the other end for Indiana. Orlando Johnson's 3-pointer extended the lead to 64-56 and it looked as if the Pacers were pulling away.

But Aldridge hit a flat 20-foot jumper and made a free throw and Joel Freeland dunked to even it at 70. Lillard hit a 3-pointer and the Blazers took a 75-72 lead, their first of the game. Portland went up 86-78 on Wesley Matthews' 3-pointer to make it 86-78.

Matthews was asked afterward what the win meant: "That we're a pretty damn good team," he replied.

It was Aldridge's 14th game this season with 20 or more points. The two-time All-Star has eight double-doubles this season.

"They're good," Aldridge said. "I just had one of those nights."

Notes

It was Portland guard Lillard's 100th career game. He is third NBA player ever to start his first 100 games. ... Among those at the game was Portland native Galen Rupp, who won the silver in the 10,000 meters at the London Olympics. ... Former Blazers coach Nate McMillan is an assistant to Vogel in Indiana. ... It was just the second time Indiana had given up 100 points this season. ... The Blazers are 8-0 this season against Eastern Conference teams. ... Indiana's David West reached his 11,000th career point in the second quarter. West, a 10-year veteran, finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists. ... George Hill matched his career high with 11 assists. ... Pacers starter Lance Stephenson fouled out with just under 5 minutes left.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Wesley Matthews is fired up after the Blazers hold off the Pacers to improve to 15-3 on the year.  (USATSI)
Wesley Matthews is fired up after the Blazers hold off the Pacers to improve to 15-3 on the year. (USATSI)
Scoreboard
Indiana (16-2)23232630102
Portland (15-3) «20252734106
IND:P. George 43 Pts
IND:R. Hibbert 14 Reb
IND:G. Hill 11 Ast
POR:L. Aldridge 28 Pts
POR:L. Aldridge 10 Reb
POR:L. Aldridge 3 Ast
Players of the Game
IndianaPortland

Paul George

LaMarcus Aldridge
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
433328103

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Indiana
G. Hill, PG411-83-421156
P. George, SF3816-304-433443
R. Hibbert, C376-134-5143516
D. West, PF336-140-085112
L. Stephenson, SG291-30-04262
C. Watson, PG183-74-410010
L. Scola, PF165-100-050210
O. Johnson, SG131-30-01113
I. Mahinmi, C110-00-04040
S. Hill, SF50-00-00000
R. Butler, SGDid Not Play
D. Granger, SFDid Not Play
D. Sloan, PGDid Not Play
C. Copeland, SFDid Not Play
Totals 39-8815-17422528102
 44.3%88.2% 
Portland
L. Aldridge, PF3711-196-8103028
D. Lillard, PG377-1710-1062226
N. Batum, SF362-53-45358
W. Matthews, SG365-114-513015
R. Lopez, C322-64-47248
M. Williams, PG236-120-002413
J. Freeland, C161-10-04112
D. Wright, SG120-22-22012
T. Robinson, PF112-30-05134
E. Watson, PG10-00-00000
V. Claver, PFDid Not Play
W. Barton, SGDid Not Play
M. Leonard, CDid Not Play
A. Crabbe, SGDid Not Play
C. McCollum, SGDid Not Play
Totals 36-7629-33401720106
 47.4%87.9% 
Other Games
Orl 80 Final
Wash 98
NO 131 Final
Chi 128
Atl 100 Final
SA 102
Hou 103 Final
Utah 109