Damian Lillard scored 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Indiana Pacers, 106-102, on Monday night in the Moda Center despite a career-high 43 points from Paul George.
Lillard was just 4-of-12 shooting through three quarters before coming alive in the fourth.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 28 points and 10 boards for Portland, which has won 13 of its last 14 tilts.
“You’ve got to credit those two guys for making big shots,” said Indiana coach Frank Vogel, “and obviously Paul George had a beast of a game.
“Hopefully that’s what it’s going to take to beat this team: the best team in the (Western) conference in their building making impossible shot after impossible shot.”
Roy Hibbert chipped in 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Pacers, who dropped just their second game of the year.
George scored 17 in the fourth quarter, including several tough 3-pointers down the stretch to keep the Pacers within striking distance.
“I was just trying to keep us in there,” George said. “When my number was called upon in the fourth quarter I was just trying to be their for my teammates. They did a great job of getting me open to get some good looks and I was fortunate to knock some shots down.”
The Pacers, 16-2 overall and 1-1 on their current trip, travel to Utah to face the Jazz Wednesday night.
George nailed a pair of treys to whittle the Pacers deficit to 98-96 with 1:37 on the clock, but the cold-blooded Lillard answered with a three at the other end and Indiana didn’t cut the gap below three the rest of the way.
George hit his fifth 3-pointer of the quarter with 10.4 seconds left to trim the bulge to 105-102, but Nicolas Batum split a pair of foul shots to seal the outcome.
“We played the most complete game from beginning to end: Execution, effort, mental focus,” Portland head coach Terry Stotts said.
George drove in for a dunk to give the Pacers a 68-60 lead late in the third before Aldridge had five points during a 10-2 Blazers run, which was capped on Joel Freeland’s dunk for a 70-70 deadlock.
The game was tied 72-72 heading into the fourth, where the Blazers took their first lead when Lillard knocked down a step-back triple for a 75-72 cushion with 11:09 left.
Lillard’s three jumpstarted an 11-4 flurry to start the fourth and three straight Mo Williams baskets concluded the burst and gave Portland an 83-76 margin with 7:26 to play.
The Pacers led 23-20 after a quarter of play and 46-45 at the break.
Notes: Lillard was a perfect 10-of-10 from the foul line … Wesley Matthews netted 15 points for the Blazers … George’s previous career high was 37 … Portland was 29-of-33 (87.9 percent) from the foul line.