Trail Blazers vs Warriors Wednesday, 04/17/13 AT 07:00PM

Trail Blazers D-Up, Snap 6-Game Skid

01/23/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    The Trail Blazers (21-21) held the Pacers (26-17) to under 32 points in the first half on their way to a 100-80 victory. It snaps their six-game losing streak and their four-game home losing streak. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 27 points. The Trail Blazers never trailed after the Pacers took a 2-0 lead to start the game.

    "That was a good one, arguably one of our more solid wins of the season," Terry Stotts said. "It was a good defensive effort. We were efficient offensively against the best defensive team in the league."

    Portland was intent on not allowing the Pacers to get into a rhythm from the get-go. It was a grind in the early going as the first quarter only had a total of 37 points, a far cry from the 65 points that were scored in the first quarter of the Washington game. The Pacers win with their defense, a point that Stotts wanted to make after the game but the fact Portland was able to hold them to 32 points in the first half was a testament to the Trail Blazers effort as well as their intent to run and get the slow-paced Pacers, out of their element.

    "It was a combination of a little bit of everything," Will Barton, who scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds bench, said. "Really focusing on that and any time you're on a losing streak, you've got to get back to the basics. Nothing more basic than defense. We really focused on stopping penetration, helping the bigs, not letting the other team's bigs get a lot of dribbles than get in the paint. Close out, running them off the line. Just everything, man."

    The defense certainly helped, as did good bench production as Barton, Meyers Leonard (eight points, five rebounds in 18 minutes) and Jared Jeffries all had good minutes. Stotts decided to go with Jeffries at power forward rather than Luke Babbitt early on as he liked his experience guarding interior players, like Indiana's David West. The move paid off and Portland was +3 the rest of the first quarter that Jeffries was in.

    In the second quarter, it was The LaMarcus Aldridge Show. Aldridge was doing everything, working in the post, hitting his jumpers and only missed one of his eight field goal attempts in the second quarter. Aldridge finished 12 of 16 from the field.

    "LaMarcus was in a groove. His shot was going and he had a few good post-ups, but his midrange, he was on," Stotts said.

    "I made one or two and my teammates said just keep shooting it. Then Coach kept drawing up plays for me to take jump shots and I just kept making them," Aldridge said about his second quarter.

    Aldridge set the tone offensively and the Trail Blazers kept their roll going against the league's best defensive team. Damian Lillard scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and did so without making a three-pointer. How did Lillard and the Trail Blazers offense get such good looks and shoot such a high percentage against the league's best defense? They set better screens, something that was emphasized by the coaching staff leading up to this game and something they hadn't been doing well during their losing streak.

    "We talked about it (setting better screens) and they (the coaching staff) showed it on tape that we weren't setting solid enough screens," Barton said.

    The Trail Blazers got a solid win against the league's best defense and the team with the Eastern Conference's third best record. Batum (10 points, eight assists, five rebounds), Lillard and Aldridge all left the court with 1:18 left to a loud applause as they already put the game out of reach. For Portland, it was the first time in an NBA-record 10 games they didn't have the game decided by six points or less. It was the Trail Blazers' most complete game since their four-game road trip to start 2013.

    "It was refreshing, especially since we were on the good side of it. That ten game streak of last-minutes games, that was fun basketball but it was tough. To be honest, when you're up 15 with three minutes to go, you still don't think you quite have it, but we needed a win like that. We haven't had a lot of wins like that. To have it at this stage was pretty refreshing."

    The Trail Blazers face the Los Angeles Clippers (32-11) on Saturday in the first of a home-and-home back-to-back.. Tip off will be at 7PM and the game will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

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