Pacers 99, Trail Blazers 92

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers looked as if they were still sleepwalking from their four-game road trip in the first half against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, but they woke up after halftime.
The Pacers outscored the Trail Blazers by 17 points in the third quarter en route to a 99-92 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday.
Paul George, who scored 34 points the night before in Chicago, led the Pacers with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Rookie point guard Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 23 points and six assists.
The Pacers (10-9) are 4-1 in their past five games and are over .500 for the first time since they were 2-1. Portland (8-11) completed its seven-game road trip 2-5.
The Pacers looked like as if they would blow the game open in the third quarter after they went into the half trailing by two points. They closed the third quarter on a 17-2 run to take a 79-64 lead.
George scored seven points during the run. Backup center Ian Mahinmi came off the bench and also chipped in four points during the run. He finished with a season-high 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting in only 19 minutes. He also grabbed four rebounds and blocked a shot.
The Pacers eventually got their lead up to 18 points early in the fourth quarter, but as they have done all season, they proved that no lead is safe with them.
Portland, playing hard for first-year coach Terry Stotts, chipped away to cause a lot of uneasiness with the Pacers and their fans.
The Trail Blazers got the lead down to as low as four points lead in the final quarter. Down five with about a minute remaining, the Trail Blazers had a chance to make it a three-point game when J.J. Hickson drove and attempt a shot over George. However, center Roy Hibbert made the key play, as he did the night before in Chicago to preserve a victory. Hibbert slid over from the weak side to block Hickson's shot.
Hibbert shot just 3-for-13 from the field, but he did grab seven rebounds and block three shots.
NOTES: George said he plans to make it a habit to attempt 500 extra shots on off days after he scored 34 points against the Chicago Bulls a day after taking 500 shots to break out of his shooting slump. ... After playing 12 of their first 18 games on the road, the Pacers play seven of their next 12 games at home. ... Lillard is on pace to become only the fifth player to average at least 18 points, six assists and one steal a game during their rookie season. ... Pacers forward Danny Granger, who has been out all season with a knee injury, no longer is using crutches and is traveling with the team on road. The team still believes it'll be sometime in February before Granger returns to the lineup.

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