PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Indiana Pacers figured if they slowed down Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, they’d have a good chance against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The tactic worked. Domantas Sabonis had 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Indiana held Portland’s dynamic backcourt duo in check for a 111-87 victory Thursday night.
Malcolm Brogdon added 25 points and seven assists for the Pacers, who improved to 4-1 on the road this season and snapped an 11-game losing streak in Portland. Indiana led by 25 in the second quarter and maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way.
McCollum and Lillard each scored 22 for the Blazers, playing the second of a back-to-back.
“We talked about it as a team before the game — we’ve got to keep the ball out of Lillard and McCollum’s hands as much as we can and try to make them really work for everything they get,” Indiana’s Doug McDermott said.
The loss was costly for Portland: During the third quarter, center Jusuf Nurkic left the court holding his right wrist and the Blazers later announced he had sustained a fracture.
The Trail Blazers (7-5) won in Sacramento 132-126 on Wednesday night. Lillard had a season-high 40 points in that one and Portland tied a franchise record with 23 3-pointers.
The Blazers lead the NBA in 3s but they were off against the Pacers, making just 13 of 43 (30.2%).
The Pacers (8-4) were coming off a 104-95 road victory over the Warriors on Tuesday night, when Myles Turner had a season-best 22 points. He finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds against the Blazers, along with four blocks.
The Pacers traded Victor Oladipo to the Rockets as part of the four-team blockbuster Thursday that sent James Harden from Houston to Brooklyn. Indiana got guard Caris LeVert from the Nets and a draft pick in the deal.
“We lost a very good player, but this team is going to play very good ball,” Brogdon said.
Indiana led by six in the opening quarter, but the score was tied at 26 going into the second. A 12-0 run capped by McDermott’s layup put the Pacers up 40-28.
Indiana extended its lead to 25 before going into halftime up 59-36. The Pacers outscored the Blazers 33-10 in the second period.
Portland was hurt in the third when Nurkic headed to the locker room after appearing to injure his right hand. The Blazers announced he fractured his wrist, but additional details were not available.
Lillard was asked how Nurkic was doing after the game.
“Frustrated. Disappointed. A little sad,” Lillard said. “Like anybody would be in that situation.”
But the Blazers chipped away at Indiana’s lead, pulling to 82-71 late in the third on Carmelo Anthony’s 3-pointer.
“I thought Myles and Domas — their aggressive mentality in all the actions, ball screens and pin downs — our guys did a great job of communicating and backing each other up,” Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren said.
Pacers: Sabonis has 107 double-doubles with the Pacers, one shy of tying Roy Hibbert for seventh in team history. … The Pacers hadn’t won in Portland since 2007. … T.J. McConnell returned after missing three games because of the birth of his son.
Trail Blazers: Portland’s 10 points in the second quarter were a season low. … McCollum, who is from Ohio, punctuated his postgame chat with reporters by exclaiming, “Go Browns!” Cleveland plays the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL playoffs on Sunday.
The Pacers were scheduled to play the Suns in Phoenix on Saturday, but that game was postponed because of COVID-19 protocols. Indiana’s next game is at the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
The Trail Blazers host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
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