Trail Blazers beat Pacers in Lillard’s return from injury

Dec 4, 2022, 6:31 AM | Updated: 9:43 pm
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, passes the ball away from Indiana Pacers center ...

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, passes the ball away from Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

              Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (27) shoots over Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
            
              Indiana Pacers forward Isaiah Jackson, left, has a shot blocked by Portland Trail Blazers forward Drew Eubanks during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
            
              Portland Trail Blazers forward Justise Winslow, center, shoots between Indiana Pacers guards Trevelin Queen, left, and Andrew Nembhard during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
            
              Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons, left, dunks over Indiana Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
            
              El base de los Trail Blazers de Portland Damian Lillard avanza para tirar de bandeja en el encuentro ante los Pacers de Indiana el domingo 4 de diciembre del 2022 (AP Foto/Craig Mitchelldyer)
            
              Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, shoots over Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
            
              Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant drives to the basket against the Indiana Pacers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
            
              Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, right, dribbles around Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
            
              Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, passes the ball away from Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Jerami Grant scored 28 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers over the Indiana Pacers 116-100 on Sunday night.

Blazers star Damian Lillard scored 21 points and had six assists in his first game since returning from a calf strain he suffered on Nov. 19. He’s missed 12 games so far this season.

“It felt good especially coming off last night. We picked up a big win and I just wanted to encourage the team and bring that energy to get us on a win streak,” Lillard said. “I felt normal, I felt good. I think this time it wasn’t as bad as the first time.”

Anfernee Simons had 22 points and six assists on the night, while Jusuf Nurkic had 19 points and six rebounds.

The win helped Portland sweep a back-to-back set after winning in Utah on Saturday night.

One night after Grant and Simons combined to score 78 points in a win at Utah, Lillard wanted to make sure his return didn’t lead to them turning down their own offense.

“Don’t let me stop you from being aggressive,” Lillard said of Grant and Simons, who combined to score 50 in Sunday’s win. “I’m going to have the ball in my hands and I’m going to find opportunities to do what I do. That’s what I do.”

Myles Turner led the Pacers with 24 points and nine rebounds. Buddy Hield had 22 points in support as the Pacers were without starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton.

Lillard connected on his first field goal attempt — a step back 3-pointer from the corner. With Lillard back in uniform, Portland kept the Pacers at bay for much of the game. Although the Pacers jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter by hitting six of 10 shots, Portland was in control for most of the game.

“I think at the start of the second half we lost some of our principles defensively,” Turner said. “We got a little too excited offensively and it hurt our defense. We need to play 48 minutes of basketball.”

The Blazers were hot from the outside, shooting 17 of 40 (42.5%) from the 3-point line. Ball movement was key for Portland as they had 32 assists on 42 made field goals.

“If we’re really going to win, then it has too be collective,” Lillard said. “It’s really encouraging for me to see it really unfold.”

Lillard picked up his third foul in the second quarter and the Blazers took him out for the final 2:24 of the first half. During Lillard’s stint on the bench to close the first half, the Blazers extended their lead to 54-49.

A 3-pointer by Grant extended the lead to 69-53 with 8:54 left in the third quarter and a 3-pointer by Simons pushed the lead to 89-67 with under two minutes in the quarter. Portland took a 93-74 lead into the final period.

Portland held 22 point leads several times on Sunday night.

The Pacers showed some grit to start the fourth quarter, cutting the Portland lead to 11 a few times but that was as close as they would get in the final period.

HALIBURTON OUT

Haliburton missed his first game of the season with a groin injury on Sunday.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said he also expects Haliburton to sit out when the Pacers travel to the Bay Area to face off against the Golden State Warriors.

UP NEXT

Indiana: At Golden State Warriors on Monday night.

Portland: Host the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Justin Rose, of England, reacts after making an eagle putt on the sixth green of the Pebble Beach G...
Associated Press

Justin Rose wins at Pebble Beach to end 4-year drought

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Justin Rose took all the drama out of a long week with three quick birdies that sent him to a three-shot victory Monday in the wind-delayed AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, ending four years without winning and making him eligible for the Masters. Rose played it safe down the closing holes, […]
1 day ago
NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney (12) spins out and is hit by Daniel Suarez (99) during the Bus...
Associated Press

Column: Sloppy race clouds NASCAR’s return to LA Coliseum

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bubba Wallace said his back and neck hurt following the bumping and banging of NASCAR’s first event of the new year, an exhibition that Kyle Larson called “very violent for the majority of the race.” Austin Dillon was shocked at the aggressiveness shown Sunday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, […]
1 day ago
Boston Bruins newly hired head coach Jim Montgomery, center, displays a Bruins jersey while standin...
Associated Press

Coaching carousel spins perfectly for Bruins, Stars, Knights

Getting fired by the Boston Bruins didn’t stop former coach Bruce Cassidy from picking up the phone and giving some advice when replacement Jim Montgomery called to ask. Getting fired by the Vegas Golden Knights also didn’t stop Peter DeBoer from answering a call from Cassidy, who replaced him in his old job. DeBoer was […]
1 day ago
South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley reacts in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game ...
Associated Press

Indiana reaches No. 2 in women’s AP Top 25; SC still No. 1

South Carolina beat a top opponent to remain No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll released Monday and now has a showdown with another one looming this weekend. The Gamecocks (23-0) topped then- No. 5 UConn 81-77 on Sunday to remain unbeaten and stay the unanimous choice atop the poll from the […]
1 day ago
Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola sits on the bench before the English FA Cup 4th round so...
Associated Press

How Manchester City came to face Premier League charges

GENEVA (AP) — The English Premier League vs. Manchester City: a legal fixture for the ages. Soccer’s richest and most watched league challenged its defending champion on Monday with more than 100 charges of alleged financial wrongdoing and failures to cooperate with an investigation that took more than four years. Dozens of charges allege breaches […]
1 day ago
Purdue head coach Matt Painter argues a call during the second of an NCAA college basketball game a...
Associated Press

Purdue stays No. 1 in AP Top 25; NC State in at No. 22

Purdue’s unquestioned grip on No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll is gone after a weekend loss. That didn’t stop the Boilermakers from remaining at the top anyway. The Boilermakers earned 38 of 62 first-place votes in the poll released Monday to remain at No. 1 for a third straight week and […]
1 day ago
Trail Blazers beat Pacers in Lillard’s return from injury