Riding a three-game winning streak, Indiana currently owns the best record in the NBA. Portland has dropped three of its last five games, but still sits in third-place in the Western Conference.
The last meeting between the Pacers and Blazers was one of the best games in the NBA this season. Paul George scored a career-high 43 points, but LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard combined for 54 to lead the Blazers to a 106-102 victory in Portland. This time around, the Pacers have home court.
Portland opened the season on a torrid pace, at one point winning 11 straight games and starting the year 22-4. They’ve cooled considerably since, going 13-10 since Dec. 21, but have still demonstrated potential to contend for the title of best in the West, winning games in Oklahoma City and San Antonio over that stretch.
The Blazers are led by Aldridge and Lillard, both All-Star selections. As of Thursday morning, Aldridge ranks sixth in the NBA in scoring (24.1 points per game) and tied for fifth in rebounding (11.6 per contest). Lillard, the 2012-13 Rookie of the Year, adds 20.6 points and 5.7 assists while shooting 41 percent from 3-point range.
All three of Portland’s other starters also score in double figures. Wesley Matthews is a 42-percent 3-point shooter averages 16.7 points per contest. Nicolas Batum does a little bit of everything, averaging 13.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists. Center Robin Lopez chips in 10.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks.
Article from nba.com
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