Sun, Feb 09, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Indiana Pacers defeat Portland

TOP CONTESTS:A matchup between division leaders the Clippers and the Raptors saw the former taking the spoils, while the Pacers beat league top-scorers Portland

AFP, INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana

George Hill of the Indiana Pacers goes up for a shot during their game against the Portland Trailblazers in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

George Hill scored a career-high 37 points to lift the Indiana Pacers over Portland in overtime on Friday, as the NBA’s top defensive team beat its top-scoring squad 118-113.

Hill added nine rebounds and eight assists, while David West scored 30 points on 13-of-16 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who improved the NBA’s best record to 39-10 and the league’s top home mark to 24-2.

Portland led 85-77 late in the fourth quarter before the Pacers rallied to take the lead, then again to force overtime.

“Knowing that we fought back in this game, being down, we said we’re in it for a reason and we have to take advantage of our opportunities,” Hill said.

“Once we got [into overtime], we knew a couple of stops would change the complexion of the game,” he added.

Indiana’s two NBA All-Star Game players struggled, with Paul George having 17 points and seven assists while shooting only five-of-23 from the field, and Roy Hibbert managing only four points.

The Pacers also were without guard Lance Stephenson due to a lower back injury that he suffered in an 89-85 win over Atlanta on Tuesday. Stephenson averages 14.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists.

“No pressure at all,” Hill said of his big night when others were absent or struggling. “Every time we have got a man down we have another man stepping up. That’s what this team is built on.”

Damian Lillard scored 38 points and passed off 11 assists to lead Portland, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and nine rebounds in a losing cause.

Wesley Matthews scored all 19 of his points in the second half for Portland, while Robin Lopez contributed 17 points and 14 rebounds.

George missed nine shots in a row, and 13 of his first 15, before a three-pointer put Indiana ahead 100-99.

Matthews put Portland back on top with a fadeaway jumper and Frenchman Nicolas Batum added two free throws to put the Trail Blazers ahead 10-3-100.

However, Hill sent the game into overtime with a three-pointer with 8.3 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Hill had four points in a 10-3 Indiana run in overtime that sealed the Trail Blazers’ fate.

Hill began the run, West followed with a slam dunk and Hibbert scored after that before Lillard answered with a three-pointer to pull Portland within 113-110.

George followed with a jumper and Hill added two free-throws after a Matthews miss, so when Matthews sank a three-pointer it was too little and too late.

LAKERS 112, 76ERS 98

In Philadelphia, Steve Nash celebrated his 40th birthday by scoring a season-high 19 points as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.

Wesley Johnson and Chris Kaman each scored 17 for the Lakers. Los Angeles won their second straight after losing seven in a row.

Tony Wroten scored 16 for Philadelphia, who lost their fifth straight game and seventh in a row at home.

Nash played more like a guy who was a two-time NBA MVP a decade ago instead of the oldest player in the league. Banged up this season, he had five assists, four rebounds and shot eight for 15.

CLIPPERS 118, RAPTORS 105

Blake Griffin scored 19 of his 36 points in the first quarter and Jamal Crawford added 21, leading the Clippers to a victory over the Raptors in a matchup of division leaders.

DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the defending Pacific Division champions, who are 12-6 since Chris Paul separated his right shoulder on Jan. 3.

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