Trail Blazers Finish Game Of Runs To Defeat Pacers

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- Despite trailing by nine points with under five minutes to play, the Portland Trail Blazers, thanks to timely shooting by Robert Covington, managed to pull out a 110-106 victory versus the Indiana Pacers in front of a crowd of 16,841 Friday night at Moda Center.

“Every team is going to make a run, it’s just about how you respond to it,” said Covington. “We got a series of stops and made the right plays, the easy plays. We was able to really execute on both sides and it led to us getting out in transition.”

The Trail Blazers are now 4-5 overall and 4-1 at home this season. Portland has now won the last two games versus Indiana while the win ends a three-game losing streak.

Portland led by as many as 16 points in the first half, though a 14-0 Pacers run spanning from the end of the second quarter through the first few minutes of the third turned what had the makings of a blowout into a dogfight.

“This game was a grind,” said Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups. “It really was, and we knew it would be. I was really disappointed at halftime because we were having a great half and then we just kind of—tough shot here, tough shot there, turnover there—now it’s a six-point game at the half. We gave them life.”

Indiana would outscore Portland by seven in the third quarter to take a one-point lead into the fourth. And after a 15-2 run gave the Pacers a 101-92 lead with 4:48 to play, it seemed as though the home team might be doomed to suffer their fourth-straight loss.

But Portland was able to get back into the game in a hurry behind CJ McCollum’s playmaking and Robert Covington’s three-point shooting. First it was a 12-0 run that turned a nine-point deficit into a three-point lead with two and a half minutes to play.

“CJ’s a guy who obviously has a ton of freedom with this team,” said Billups. “He’s so gifted as a scorer, what he doesn’t get the credit for is he actually sees the floor very well. Two big assists there at the end knowing that (Covington) was rolling. So obviously they’re going to show you a lot, maybe, two guys a lot of the times. Got to find the right guy.”

Late in the game Friday night, that guy was Covington.

The Pacers cut the lead to one, twice, in the final two minutes, but each time, Covington responded with a three off a McCollum assist, including a 25-footer with 14.7 seconds to play, to tilt the scales in the home team’s favor.

“(Covington) was great,” said McCollum. “I just told him ‘You gotta shoot the (regulation) ball.’ He shot it tonight, he made the extra passes when we needed him to, he defended, he was aggressive. He was the hero tonight, he hit some big shots for us when we need them.”

STATISTICS

McCollum led all scorers with 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 shooting from three to go with six assists and five rebounds in just under 41 minutes.

Norman Powell went 8-of-14 for 25 points, two assists, two rebounds, two steals and a block in 32 minutes. Robert Covington scored nine of his 19 points in the last four minutes to go with five rebounds in 33 minutes.

Jusuf Nurkic came a rebound away from a double-double with 10 points and nine boards in 23 minutes. Anfernee Simons went 6-of-10 for 16 points and Damian Lillard scored just four points but handed out 11 assists in just under 38 minutes.

T.J. McConnel led the Pacers with 19 points and seven rebounds. Domantas Sabonis finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds in 35 minutes.

HIGHLIGHTS

NOTABLE

• The Trail Blazers won their fourth straight game at Moda Center.
• Portland ended a three-game losing streak.
• Portland connected on 17 three-pointers (of 39, 43.6%) while Indiana made 14 triples (of 42, 33.3%).
• The Trail Blazers shot 13-of-15 from the free-throw line (86.7%) while the Pacers shot
6-of-10 (60.0%).
• Portland outscored Indiana on the fast break, 17-13.
• The Trail Blazers outrebounded the Pacers, 42-40.

QUOTABLE

“He’s not going to be high usage, he’s not always going to get the ball.
He’s going to have some games where he shoots it seven, eight times, maybe nine, but it never changes his attitude or his effort on the other end. And that’s where we depend on him the most. Defensively, he’s had to slow down some really great players. Sometimes he’ll get shots, sometimes he won’t, but he’s just such a great pro.” -- Chauncey Billups on Robert Covington

NEXT UP

The Trail Blazers get right back to it by hosting the Lakers in the second night of an all-home back-to-back. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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