INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Paul George did what the three-time All-Star does best.
He scored a season-high 37 points, including 13 straight in the fourth quarter, to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Portland Trail Blazers 118-111 on Saturday night.
”That’s the Paul George we are accustomed to,” forward Myles Turner said. ”It was good to see him find that groove.”
George missed the game at Portland on Nov. 30 when the Pacers lost 131-109, and because of injuries and a five-game trip out West, he hadn’t even played at home in more than two weeks.
George made up for lost time, putting on a show with five 3-pointers and the fourth-quarter rally in his first game back at Bankers Life Fieldhouse since Nov. 23. Thaddeus Young hit a career-high six 3s while getting 24 points and nine rebounds, and Turner added 14 points for the Pacers, who had lost five straight regular season games to Portland.
”I thought Thaddeus was the biggest player of us all tonight,” George said. ”I was the one who was there late in the game, but he was the one who kept us in the game.”
C.J. McCollum made a career-high seven 3-pointers and had a season-best 34 points for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard had 33 points behind five 3s.
George scored 13 straight points in the fourth quarter for Indiana. He was fouled on the go-ahead basket with 4:36 remaining and completed the three-point play to give the Pacers a 108-105 lead.
Indiana didn’t even take its first lead until Al Jefferson was fouled on a basket and made the bonus free throw to put the Pacers ahead for the first time 99-98 with 8:34 left in the fourth quarter. Then McCollum scored seven straight points to give the Trail Blazers the lead again before George took over.
The Pacers trailed by 20 points after Portland didn’t waste much time taking a lead right from the start.
Lillard, who scored 28 points in Portland’s win over Indiana on Nov. 30, had a big first quarter with 19 points and five 3-pointers.
”It’s the same thing,” Lillard said. ”We start off the game well and we build a lead, but we know the other team is going to make a run. We’re just not getting it done.”
He made back-to-back 3s to put the Trail Blazers ahead 26-11 with 5:59 remaining in the first, and McCollum’s 3-pointer with 8:09 left in the second quarter gave the Trail Blazers a 58-38 lead.
George made back-to-back 3-pointers with under a minute to go in the first half. His 3 with 25.3 second remaining put the Pacers within seven to trail 71-64 at the half.
Portland finished with 16 3-pointers – just one shy of tying their season best. It became a 3-point shootout during different stretches throughout the game. McCollum made one in the third quarter to put Portland ahead 82-73, but George answered with a 3 before McCollum made another. Young scored three 3s during a stretch in the third to cut the deficit to six.
Trail Blazers: Their 44 points in the first quarter were the most Portland has scored in a quarter this season and the 13 points in the fourth was the fewest scored in a quarter. … Lillard had nine assists. … Mason Plumlee had eight points and nine rebounds.
Pacers: Jefferson finished with 10 points off the bench. … Monta Ellis had 10 points and five assists.
Trail Blazers: Monday they travel to Los Angeles to play the Clippers.
Pacers: Monday they host Charlotte and try to snap a four-game losing streak to the Hornets.