It was a point guard battle for the ages, but in the end, the perpetually underrated George Hill got the best of All-Star Damian Lillard in leading the Indiana Pacers to a 118-113 overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The aforementioned Hill had what many would consider the best game of his entire NBA career, scoring 37 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, and dishing out 8 assists to lead the Pacers, and it was an epic showing. The statistical output was impressive enough, but on a night where the always stingy Indiana defense faltered and Paul George (5-for-23 FG) struggled mightily, it was Hill and David West (30 points on 13-for-16 FG, 10 rebounds) who picked up the lion’s share of the slack in leading Indy to victory.
However, Hill wasn’t the only point guard with an incredible night, and Damian Lillard matched him shot for shot. The 2nd-year player exploded for 38 points and 11 assists to lead Portland in both categories, and he was downright incredible. LaMarcus Aldridge (22 points, 9 rebounds) and Robin Lopez (17 points, 14 rebounds) were very solid in defeat, but it was Lillard who was wholly responsible for keeping Portland close despite allowing a big night to Hill on the other end.
When two of the best teams in the NBA get together, it is always entertaining, but this was a new level of excitement for both teams. Potential “NBA Finals Preview” is a phrase that will likely be uttered in the wake of this one, and frankly, the league could do much worse than pitting these two teams together for 7 games.