Damian Lillard looks to build on a spectacular two-game run when the Portland Trail Blazers host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night.
The Portland star has a jaw-dropping 108 points during the stretch to become the first player in franchise history to score 100 or more in a two-game span. Lillard broke his own franchise records with 61 points and 11 3-pointers in Monday’s overtime win over the Golden State Warriors and followed up with 47 points and eight treys in Thursday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Trail Blazers may need another heavy dose of “Dame Time” against the Pacers, who have won seven of their past eight games.
Overall, Lillard has scored 30 or more points in five of Portland’s last six games. But he was highly frustrated after Thursday’s 133-125 loss to the Mavericks, partly due to an officiating non-call that upset him and his club’s continual flirting with mediocrity.
The Trail Blazers, who reside in 11th place in the Western Conference, gave up 78 first-half points on their home floor to the Mavericks and trailed by 25 points in the third quarter before trimming the final margin.
“Seventy-eight points in the first half is allowing a team to build up too much confidence and rhythm, especially with the level that that offense can play at,” Lillard said. “It’s putting yourself in a tough position, and it was just an uphill battle going into the second half even though we did a much better job.”
Getting off to a good start against the Pacers might be an ideal tone-setter as visits to Portland have been a horror show for Indiana.
The Pacers have dropped 10 straight road games in the series, with their last win being a 95-89 triumph on Nov. 28, 2007. Overall, Indiana has lost the past four meetings.
The Pacers are 3-1 on a current five-game road trip after posting a 129-118 victory over the Warriors on Friday.
Small forward TJ Warren poured in 33 points while backup sharpshooter Doug McDermott matched his season-high of 24 points and equaled his career high of six 3-pointers.
It marked the second time in four games that McDermott scored 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting, including hitting 6 of 7 from behind the arc.
“Guys are finding me,” McDermott said afterward. “I’m not gonna break you down one-on-one but I’m gonna try to get open and move without the ball. I’m really not doing anything different, shots are just falling.”
Power forward Domantas Sabonis — whose Hall of Fame father Arvydas played seven seasons for the Trail Blazers — had a stellar all-around effort with 16 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and three steals.
Warren, who has topped 20 points in four of the last five games, cited Sabonis as a key in why he made 14 of 23 shots against the Warriors.
“It’s all about moving the ball. The ball movement was good and we were shooting with confidence,” Warren told reporters. “We have a lot of guys that can make plays and make shots any given night and you’ll see scoring outbursts from guys like Doug, Domas.
“Everybody just has to continue it and finish out the road trip strong.”
Indiana will likely be without point guard Malcolm Brogdon (concussion) for the second straight game. T.J. McConnell (12 points, eight assists) and Aaron Holiday (12 points, seven assists) filled in capably against Golden State.
Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum (ankle) will likely miss his fourth straight game.
A bright shot in Portland’s loss to Dallas was the play of veteran forward Trevor Ariza, who scored a season-best 21 points in his team debut after being acquired from the Sacramento Kings.
“I thought he played really well,” Lillard said of Ariza. “He was flying around, he was active, he made shots, he was aggressive on the offensive end as well. For his first game, I thought he had a pretty good performance.”
–Field Level Media