That was the record of the red-hot Indiana Pacers when they touched down in Portland to face the Blazers in the Rose Garden, but Portland was up to the challenge. The Blazers, led by the duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, outlasted the Pacers, 106-102, and with the win, jumped into the legitimate conversation for “best in the west”.
Aldridge (28 points, 10 rebounds) and Damian Lillard (26 points, 6 rebounds) were the duo of note for Portland, and each guy stepped up in a major way on their home floor. Aldridge, the stud power forward and de facto best player, took over the game at various points in route to his big-time numbers, while Lillard provided his normally steady hand and explosive scoring punch.
The supporting cast for Portland also stepped up at various points in the game, including a late push in Portland’s 34-30 edge during the 4th quarter. Wesley Matthews continued his hot start to the season with 15 points, and Mo Williams shot the ball well (6 of 12) off the bench to give them a lift with 13 points in 23 minutes.
On the Indiana side, MVP candidate Paul George was incredible on this night. George finished with an astounding 43 points on 16-for-30 shooting and 7-for-15 from beyond the arc, and he did so in only 38 minutes of game action. Obviously, that isn’t the type of line that you see every day, and it’s almost a shame that it came in what turned out to be a defeat for Indiana.
In all actuality, a quick glance at the box score would leave any viewer with the feeling that Portland “stole” this victory, despite it being housed in their own building. Indiana won the rebounding battle, had more points in the paint, more fast break points, and had a 43-point scorer in the game. However, Portland did a ton of their damage at the free-throw line (where they went 29 for 33), and it’s that type of wherewithal to continue attacking that makes the Blazers different this season.
It is only one home win in early December, but the Portland Trail Blazers announced their candidacy for home-court advantage in the Western Conference on Monday night, and they went through one of the best teams in the entire NBA to do it.