THE FACTS: The question was not whether Paul George could do it, but whether he could do it again. The first two times he breached the 30-point mark in his career, George fell immediately into scoring funks. Not this time. After scoring 34 to lead Indiana over Chicago Tuesday night, the third-year wing followed up with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists as the Pacers held off Portland 99-92 Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The player most expected to pick up the scoring slack in Danny Granger's absence is showing signs of stepping into that role, playing much more aggressively in terms of attacking the basket rather than settling for jump shots and making plays on the move. Rookie standout Damian Lillard scored 23 with six assists to lead the Blazers, who wrapped up a seven-game road trip.
QUOTABLE: "It's exciting is what it is. You see some of the shots he's making and you think if he could ever stabilize and do that on a consistent basis, with the way he's playing defense, you've got a special player."
-- Indiana Coach Frank Vogel on George.
THE STAT: On back-to-back nights, George totaled 56 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists and four steals, making 21 of 40 shots (.525), including 5 of 12 (.417) from the 3-point line. The first time George scored 30, last season in Dallas, he want nearly three weeks before reaching 20. When he went for 37 against New Orleans on Nov. 21, he totaled 31 in his next four games.
TURNING POINT: George took over in the Pacers' decisive run, scoring 10 points in a 20-4 burst bridging the third and fourth periods that pushed Indiana's lead to 82-64. Portland countered with a 17-4 run with Wesley Matthews scoring 11 but got no closer than four.
QUOTABLE II: "I'm not doing anything different. I'm going to continue to let the game come to me and hopefully be productive. It's kicking in the last couple of nights and I just hope I can continue this."
HOT: David West hit 8 of 11 shots, scoring 16 points and adding 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double for Indiana. Pacers reserve center Ian Mahinmi hit all six of his shots to score 12. Lillard hit 9 of 15 for Portland, while J.J. Hickson shot 7 of 12.
NOT: Roy Hibbert continues to struggle with his shot, going 3-of-13 from the field as his field goal percentage dropped to .383 for the season. LaMarcus Aldridge shot 5 of 14 but did manage an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double.
ROOKIE WATCH: Lillard continued the remarkable start to his first season, playing with a composure and confidence belying his youth. To lead a team in scoring while providing six assists without a turnover is a remarkable performance for a rookie point guard. Meyers Leonard had a modest outing with four points and a rebound in 11 and 1/2 minutes.
NOTABLE: Indiana had two reserves score in double figures for the first time since Nov. 14 and third time this season as Mahinmi (12) and Tyler Hansbrough (10) both had solid outings. ... Hibbert blocked three shots to extend his streak of games with at least two to 13. ... George led the Pacers in assists for the third time in four games. ... Portland's woeful bench produced just 13 points. ...Concluding a seven-game road trip with a 2-5 record, the Blazers have six in a row at home. ... The Pacers, who played 12 of their first 18 on the road, opened a stretch of four of five at home. ... Indiana guard Lance Stephenson did not finish the game after sustaining an undisclosed leg injury in the first half.
UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Friday vs. Denver, Sunday at Oklahoma City, Wednesday vs. Cleveland. For the Blazers, Saturday vs. Sacramento, Monday vs. Toronto, Thursday vs. San Antonio