Indianapolis, IN – Paul George amassed 22 points and the Indiana Pacers used a dominant third quarter to record a 99-92 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
George Hill added 18 points and David West had 16 along with 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who outscored the Trail Blazers by a 31-14 margin in the pivotal third quarter en route to their fourth victory in their last five games.
Six Indiana players scored in double figures.
"A lot of things are starting to come together," said George. "We're starting to knock down shots, we're starting to see the open man. We're starting to play the style that we played last year."
Portland had a two-game win streak snapped despite a game-high 23 points from Damian Lillard and double-doubles out of LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J. Hickson. Aldridge accumulated 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Hickson pulled down 12 boards to go along with 14 points as the Blazers concluded a 7-game road trip at 2-5.
Indiana trailed 50-48 at the conclusion of a tightly played first half, and the contest remained close until the Pacers erupted for a 17-4 run to turn a two-point edge into a commanding 79-64 advantage by period's end.
The Pacers began the big stretch with 10 consecutive points, starting with a George jumper from beyond the arc that gave Indiana a 65-60 lead with just under five minutes to go in the quarter. The swingman would put up five more points during the spurt, which ended on a West layup that extended the margin to 15 entering the final 12 minutes.
"You just watch him and some of the shots that he's making and you think, 'Boy, if he could ever stabilize and do this on a consistent basis," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said of George.
Portland shot just 36.8 percent (7-of-19) and committed six turnovers during its dreadful third quarter, with the miscues converted into 10 points by the Pacers.
"It seemed like we were on our heels," Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said of his team's performance during the period. "We weren't aggressive, they were much more aggressive."
The Blazers, who rallied from an 18-point deficit with five minutes left in regulation to defeat Charlotte on Monday, would make a belated bid in this one as well, however.
With his team down 85-70 with 9 1/2 minutes to play, Portland's Wesley Matthews scored seven of his 19 points during an 11-0 flurry that got the Blazers back within striking distance, with Lillard's driving basket with seven minutes left pulling the Blazers within 85-81.
Portland would get no closer, though. The Pacers carried a 95-90 lead entering the final minute, and Lillard misfired on a 3-point attempt with 27.9 seconds remaining that would have produced a one-possession game. Hill then sank a pair of foul shots on Indiana's subsequent trip down the court to seal the outcome.
The Pacers got off to a sluggish start, missing six of their first seven shots and turning the ball over four times in the game's opening 4 1/2 minutes in falling behind by a 13-4 score. Portland owned an 21-11 lead with four minutes left in the first quarter, but Indiana closed the stanza out with a 9-0 burst to cut its deficit to one at the buzzer.
Indiana moved in front on a 3-point play from Hill that made it a 42-41 game with 2:41 remaining in the half, but the Blazers went back ahead on a Hickson putback prior to the horn that snapped a 48-48 deadlock.
Lillard was named the NBA's Rookie of the Month for October/November on Wednesday after averaging 18.4 points and 5.9 assists to begin his career ... Pacers center Ian Mahinmi scored a season-best 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting in 19 minutes off the bench ... Portland fell to 2-8 in its last 10 visits to Bankers Life Fieldhouse ... The Pacers finished with a 36-28 advantage in points in the paint and are now 8-4 this season when outscoring the opposition in that category.