Trail Blazers 102, Pacers 91
The Portland Trail Blazers can’t afford to lose any more players
– or coaches.
Despite having only nine active players and missing coach Nate
McMillan, the Trail Blazers got 29 points from Brandon Roy and beat
the Indiana Pacers 102-91 on Wednesday night.
Portland’s laundry list of injuries includes center and
Indianapolis native Greg Oden (left knee), guard Rudy Fernandez
(sciatic pain) and forward Travis Outlaw (left foot). McMillan, who
didn’t travel, had surgery on his right Achilles’ tendon after
injuring it during a team practice Dec. 4.
“That’s just the type of guy Nate is,” said Roy, who added
seven rebounds and five assists. “We were down a lot of bodies
that day, he wants to get out there and play. It’s just too bad his
body couldn’t hold up. It says a lot, though. He cares about this
Trail Blazers assistant Dean Demopoulos, who’s assuming head
coaching duties while McMillan recovers, plans to teach from the
“Even when I was young enough, I wasn’t good enough,”
Demopoulos joked. “I’m 10 or 11 years older than Nate. I’d blow
both Achilles’ out.”
Demopoulos and the Trail Blazers didn’t need a full complement
of players to beat the struggling Pacers. LaMarcus Aldridge had 20
points and eight rebounds, and Andre Miller scored 15 for Portland
(14-9), which snapped a four-game road losing streak.
“When you talk about team wins, this is the essence of team,”
Demopoulos said. “Everyone stepped up, held hands and collectively
got it done.”
The Pacers, on the other hand, continued their downward spiral.
Dahntay Jones had 19 points and rookie Tyler Hansbrough added 13
points and 11 rebounds for Indiana (6-13), losers of six
The Pacers played without injured All-Star Danny Granger, who is
expected to miss at least four weeks with a torn right plantar
fascia. The team’s leading scorer won’t require surgery.
“It’s back to the drawing board,” Jones said. “Losing is not
The Pacers, who trailed by 11 in the first half, tied the score
at 83 on Luther Head’s jumper with 8 minutes left in the fourth
quarter. Portland used an 8-2 run, capped by Miller’s layup, to
take a 100-91 lead. Roy had consecutive baskets to spark the
“I could almost fall asleep when he’s got the ball,”
Demopoulos said of Roy. “That’s how comfortable I feel with him.
He always comes through.”
The Trail Blazers shot nearly 53 percent in the first quarter
and opened their biggest lead, 26-15, on Roy’s 3-pointer. Indiana
got within four late in the second, but Aldridge’s two free throws
pushed the lead back to 52-45 at the break.
“We didn’t play consistent basketball,” Pacers coach Jim
O’Brien said. “We can’t play two and a half quarters of good
basketball and one and a half quarters of sub-par basketball.”
Aldridge was impressed with the Trail Blazers’ ability to play
“I don’t see it as overly tough,” he said. “If we come out
and play hard, I feel like we have enough guys to win now. We have
to live in the moment.”
NOTES: Oden could miss the rest of the season after having
surgery on his left knee. … McMillan is not expected to coach the
team’s next two games at Cleveland and Milwaukee. … The Pacers
have lost 10 of 11 after winning five straight.