Damian Lillard Too Much For The Pacers

 

----- Damian Lillard records the first 30/15 game of his career as the Portland Trail Blazers drop the Indiana Pacers 106-98 Monday night at Moda Center.

Playing their first game without CJ McCollum (left knee), the Portland Trail Blazers responded with an inspired effort.

Damian Lillard scored 30 points and dished out a season-high 15 assists as the Portland Trail Blazers topped the Indiana Pacers 106-98 Monday night at Moda Center. It was the first 30/15 game of Lillard's career, and just the second such game in franchise history (Clyde Drexler).

Terry Stotts got great balance from his lineup with six Blazers scoring in double-figures. Jusuf Nurkic finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, Al-Farouq Aminu scored 16 points on 4-for-5 shooting from three-point range, and Rodney Hood scored 11 points off the bench.

Indiana started the game on fire connecting on 50% of their field goals in the first quarter including 3-for-4 shooting from downtown taking a 31-28 lead after one period. The Pacers continued their strong play in the second building a 41-30 lead with 9:13 left in the first half, but Portland responded with a 25-7 run to take a 55-48 lead into the break.

The nine-minute stretch in the second quarter was some of the best basketball I have seen from this group all season. Credit Zach Collins. He energized the team with his hustle and defense igniting their run. He showcased his footwork in the post, had a nice jam on a dish from Lillard in the pick-and-roll, and showcased his leaping ability with an acrobatic block. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and is willing to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the league. His teammates admire his toughness and respect his work ethic.

The Blazers exploded for 33 points in the third quarter to take a commanding 88-72 lead into the fourth. Sloppy play allowed the Pacers to cut the Blazers lead to five at 102-97 with 26.5 seconds to play, but Aminu and Lillard were able to finish the game with four-straight free throws.

Notes- CJ McCollum spoke with the media before the game in regards to the injured popliteus muscle in his left knee saying, "I don’t have a time line I’m going to give (the media). Hopefully I can be back sooner than later. My goal is to come back when I’m healthy. I don’t like to miss games, but I have to do what’s best for my health. Doctors will sign off when I’m ready."

"I don’t want him to have to rush it," Lillard said. And when he does come back, I want him to be himself and be healthy. So, in my mind, we’re going to finish the regular season without him."

With the win, Portland has won 10-straight games against Indiana at Moda Center and are now 4-1 in their last five games.

Up Next- The Trail Blazers host the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night at Moda Center. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 PM.

Chad's Take- Great team win without CJ McCollum. Lillard was unstoppable while playing a great floor game and a variety of guys stepped up to make a contribution.

 
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