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Pacers prevail in OT
INDIANA PACERS 118, Portland Trail Blazers 113 (OT)
Friday night, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 18,165 announced attendance (sellout)
The action was fast and furious at times, with the Blazers leading much of the way and on top 89-81 midway through the fourth quarter.
But Indiana, playing before the home fans, turned up its hustle, got offensive rebounds, made timely 3-pointers and capitalized on some Portland mistakes to catch the visitors and then overcome them in OT.
Indy won the extra period 15-10.
All in all, though, it was a strong effort by the Blazers on the road, going toe to toe against the team with the best record in the NBA (39-10).
WHAT IT MEANS
The Blazers need a win Saturday night at Minnesota to finish their four-game trip at 2-2.
Portland slipped to 35-15, third in the NBA Western Conference.
Oklahoma City leads at 40-12, having lost 103-102 Friday at Orlando. San Antonio is 36-14.
Fourth are the Los Angeles Clippers at 35-18, and Houston is fifth at 33-17.
The Blazers are 17-4 against the Eastern Conference, 8-2 on the road against East teams.
Portland is on pace for a 57-25 season record.
Damian Lillard scored 38 points, 20 in the first half.
His 3 with 57.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter gave Portland a 113-110 lead.
He also had a four-point play with 5.6 seconds on the clock in the third quarter.
Lillard finished the game with 11 assists.
Robin Lopez picked up his 17th double-double, getting 17 points to go with 14 rebounds.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points, despite picking up his fourth foul with 6:57 remaining in the third quarter.
Wesley Matthews had 19 points.
Indiana guard George Hill scored a career-high 37 points and flirted with his first triple-double, finishing with nine rebounds and eight assists.
Pacers forward David West tossed in a season-high 30 points and added 10 rebounds.
Hill and West combined to make 25 of 35 from the floor, and they scored 28 of Indy's final 37 points.
Two horrific turnovers on passes by Lopez and Aldridge under the Blazers' basket cost Portland four key points. Indiana converted the turnovers into scores and took a 111-107 lead late in OT.
Then, an inbound play to center Roy Hibbert for an inside basket and an offensive rebound that led to a George jumper gave the Pacers a 115-110 advantage with 17.8 seconds left.
The Pacers had nine offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Nicolas Batum had a big hand in containing Indy All-Star Paul George, but Batum was 1 of 8 from the field (0 of 3 from beyond the arc). Batum totaled 4 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals and 4 turnovers.
Blazers guard Mo Williams missed the game, and is likely to be absent at Minnesota, because of family issues.
Portland's starters played big minutes in the OT game: Lillard 45, Matthews 39, Lopez 40, Aldridge 40 and Batum 45.
* The Blazers bench contributed 13 points in 56 minutes, with rookie guard C.J. McCollum going 4 of 4 from the floor for 9 points. The other subs shot 1 for 5.
The first half was a bit strange, statistically. Lillard and Aldridge were a combined 15 of 26 from the field. Matthews and Batum were a combined 0 for 7. Also, the Blazers had a 7-0 edge in offensive rebounds, with IHibbert getting no rebounds at either end. The result was a 50-45 Portland lead at intermission.
Indiana is 3-0 in overtime games.
The Pacers are 4-0 when Hill scores 20 or more points.
Indiana played without forward Lance Stephenson (sore back).
Indy's newly acquired big man, Andrew Bynum, joined the team at its shootaround but did not suit up for the game.
Indiana star George is shooting 30.2 percent overall and 19.5 percent on 3-pointers in his last seven games. He struggled until very late in Friday's game, missing 14 of his first 16 shots before sinking a 3 that put Indiana in front 100-99 in the fourth quarter.
Indiana's largest lead in regulation was two points. The Pacers' first lead was 60-59. Portland led by as many as 12 points.
"A very well-played game by both teams. We were in position to win. We didn't come up with some rebounds when we needed them. But give Indiana credit. They hit some tough shots when they needed to." Terry Stotts, Blazers coach
"When I first walked in here I was yelling at everybody that I had a lot of energy today. From 5 o'clock, when we came here to start shooting, I don't know what it was, I just felt different today."
-- George Hill
"We played well against a championship-level team who found a way to get it done. That's what great teams do, find a way to get it done." Damian Lillard
The Blazers play 5 p.m. PT Saturday at Minnesota, wrapping up their four-game trip (CSNNW).
Both teams will be coming off hard-fought road losses the night before.
The Timberwolves have concerns, including various nagging injuries to star power forward Kevin Love from Lake Oswego High. Love battled through them Friday night for 26 points and 19 rebounds, but the T-Wolves couldn't hold off homecourt New Orleans. The Pelicans scored 37 points in fourth quarter to push past Minny 98-91.
Love made 14 of 17 free throws as the Wolves fell to 24-26.
Minnesota is 11th in the Western Conference, 5 1/2 games out of the No. 8 playoff spot.