McCollum scores 27, leads Blazers ahead of Pacers, 110-106


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – CJ McCollum scored 27 points, making five to 3 points, and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied to beat the Indiana Pacers 110-106 on Friday night to end a three-game losing streak.

Robert Covington added 19 points, a season-high, including a key 3-point pointer with 14.7 seconds left.

“He shot tonight, made the extra pass when he needed it, defended. He was aggressive, ”McCollum said. “He was the hero tonight. He struck big hits for us.

Damian Lillard continued to struggle with his shot, going 2 for 13 from the field and missing his six attempts by 3 points. He had four points and 11 assists.

TJ McConnell had 19 points for the Pacers, whose two-game winning streak was interrupted.

Portland led up to 16 points in the first half, but the Pacers closed the gap before half-time and held a narrow lead heading into the final period.

The Pacers had an 11-0 run to climb 97-90, but that was broken by Jusuf Nurkic’s layup. McCollum and Covington each scored 3 points to bring Portland down to 101-98 with 3:55 to go.

Norman Powell’s free throws and McCollum’s layup put the Blazers ahead 102-101. After Nurkic’s dunk, Domantas Sabonis’ layup kept the Pacers close.

Covington scored 3 points to extend Portland’s lead, but Myles Turner responded with a 3 to narrow it down to 107-106. Covington’s 3 as seconds went by sealed it.

Indiana was without starting goalie Malcolm Brogdon, who leads the Pacers with 22.3 points per game, due to an illness unrelated to COVID. McConnell started for him.

Caris LeVert, who missed the start of the season with a stress fracture in his back, averaged 18.5 points in the Pacers’ last two games. He finished with 12 against the Blazers.

“I really like our team. I think we have a lot of talent in this team, but we don’t have the kind of talent to win just on talent, ”Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “I mean, we really have to be linked together. And our level of competition must be very high.

Lillard was averaging 19.5 points, far from his average last season. Heading into Friday’s game, the Portland All-Star had only managed 18 of 77 3-point attempts, or about 23 percent. However, he is among the leaders in the league with 8.5 assists per game.

Blazers coach Chauncey Billups praised Lillard’s ground game, saying he found guys for the right shots. When asked if he was concerned about Lillard, the new Portland coach was adamant.

“No. Why would I? He’s one of the greatest of all time. He’s still in his prime. He’s not 38 or 39,” Billups said. “I played at this. game for a long time, I experienced it myself. ”

Portland led up to 13 points at the start, but Indiana narrowed the lead to 24-22 over Justin Holiday’s 3 points at the start of the second.

McCollum scored 3 straight points to take Portland’s lead to 40-28, but the Pacers drove a 10-0 run to end the half and moved closer to 59-53.

“It’s easy to lay down and drop the chips where they can. But I don’t think we did that. We started slowly and were able to fight back. But it just wasn’t enough, ”Turner said. “We can go get all the excuses in the world – it’s the west coast, travel and all that – but you’ve got to find a way to do it.” “

Powell finished with 25 points.

ADVICE

Pacers: Domantas Sabonis, son of former great Trail Blazers Arvydas Sabonis, wore special shoes personalized by Pacific Northwest artist Justin Tigner who pays homage to both father and son. … Billups played under Carlisle in Detroit. “It’s a proud moment for me,” Carlisle said of training former players. “I always thought Chauncey could do whatever he wanted in basketball.”

Trail Blazers: McCollum led all scorers in the first half with 19 points. … Powell has played three straight games with 20 or more points. … Blazers owner Jody Allen was at the game.

FOLLOWING

Pacers: Visit the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

Trail Blazers: Play the second in a straight game against the Lakers on Saturday.

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