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Pacers resume western trip in Portland
(SportsNetwork.com) - Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said his team's western road trip will be an "early-season barometer."
Judging by Indiana's 105-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the opener of the trip, the bar of success has been set high.
The NBA-leading Pacers will continue their trip Monday against the competitive Portland Trail Blazers and sport a remarkable 16-1 record. In leading up to Sunday's matchup with the Clippers, Vogel talked about the challenging road ahead.
"It will be somewhat revealing, but not all-revealing," Vogel said. "If we go 0-5 it doesn't mean we're a disaster, if we go 5-0 it doesn't mean we won the championship."
Paul George led the way against Los Angeles with 27 points and David West followed with 24 and 12 rebounds. Roy Hibbert had 19 points and eight rebounds, while George Hill netted 11 points for the Pacers, who made 43.8 percent from the floor and won their seventh in a row.
"This was a tough opponent and a great win for us," said George. "We stuck to our principles. Our defense is clicking but we can still get better offensively."
Indiana has won four straight on the road, owns a 7-1 mark as the guest and will also make stops in Utah, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
The Blazers were able to get back in the win column with Sunday's 114-108 road win over the Lakers. LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points to go along with nine rebounds, Damian Lillard netted 26 points and handed out nine assists and Wesley Matthews scored 17 points for Portland, which had its 11-game win streak stopped with Wednesday's loss at Phoenix.
"We have to find a way to stay consistent. We weathered the storm and won the game," said Lillard, the NBA's reigning Rookie of the Year.
Robin Lopez chipped in 12 points and 12 boards in the bounce-back effort.
Portland has won five in a row at home and is 6-1 as the host. It is opening a four-game homestand Monday versus Indiana, Oklahoma City, Utah and Dallas. The Blazers' last home loss occurred on Nov. 5 versus Houston.
Matthews, meanwhile, is questionable versus the Pacers with a bruised hip.
The Trail Blazers and Pacers split two meetings a season ago and Indiana has won three of the last four matchups between the teams. Portland has prevailed in four straight and 10 of the last 15 games at home in this series.
12/02 10:31:39 ET
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