NBA: Pacers’ strong final quarter sinks Blazers
Rookie Bennedict Mathurin scored 19 points and Tyrese Haliburton collected 15 points and 12 assists to fuel the host Indiana Pacers to a 108-99 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday at Indianapolis.
Myles Turner recorded 17 points and seven rebounds and Isaiah Jackson scored 12 points after being recalled from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the G League earlier on Friday.
Buddy Hield scored all 11 of his points in the second half for the Pacers, who have won five in a row at home and avenged a 116-100 loss to Portland on Dec. 4.
Portland’s Anfernee Simons scored 20 points, Damian Lillard added 19 and eight assists and Jerami Grant had 15 points.
Bennedict Mathurin really made the defender hit the deck.😳 pic.twitter.com/nEWcobRNR3
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) January 7, 2023
Jusuf Nurkic collected 14 points and 19 rebounds for Portland while battling a non-COVID-19 illness. Josh Hart recorded 12 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Trail Blazers, who have lost six of their last eight games.
Portland held a 97-93 lead with 6:40 to play before Indiana finished with a flourish. Aaron Nesmith and Hield each made short buckets and Haliburton drained a 3-pointer to stake the Pacers to a 106-99 lead. Nesmith added a pair of free throws to seal the win.
Hield was held scoreless in the first half before he made a pair of 3-pointers and sank three straight free throws to lift Indiana to a 78-70 lead with 4:08 left in the third quarter. The Blazers, however, closed the quarter on a 12-3 run.
Indiana built a 49-38 lead with 3:46 remaining in the second quarter before Portland responded with a surge. Lillard and Simons highlighted that stretch by draining 3-pointers before Hart converted from beyond the arc with 1.1 seconds left to give the Trail Blazers a 55-54 lead at halftime.
Portland bolted out of the blocks by scoring the first 10 points of the game. The Pacers chipped away at the deficit, with Jackson making all four of his shot attempts to finish with nine points to trim the Trail Blazers’ lead to 29-26 after one quarter.