PORTLAND,OR — After Portland had withstood a late barrage from the Indiana Pacers and Paul George, the Trail Blazers gathered at midcourt and raised their hands together.
It might be early in the season, but this was a statement win for the Blazers.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points and 10 rebounds and Portland downed Indiana 106-102 Monday night, snapping the Pacers' seven-game winning streak. Damian Lillard added 26.
"It was a tough one, and we knew it was going to be a tough one going in," Lillard said. "They're a good team, they only had one loss. But we're a good team too, and we wanted to prove that."
Paul George had a career-high 43 points for Pacers (16-2), who own the NBA's best record.
The Blazers pulled in front early in the fourth quarter, but the Pacers kept it close and George hit consecutive 3-pointers that narrowed it to 98-96 with 1:37 left. Lillard answered with a 3-pointer and Nicolas Batum made a pair of free throws for the Blazers before George hit another 3-pointer that got Indiana within 103-99 with 21 seconds to go.
Lillard hit free throws and George made yet another 3 with 10 seconds left to make it 105-102, but the Pacers couldn't get closer. Portland (15-3) is off to its best start since the 1998-99 season.
"I really wanted to get this win," said George, one of just four Indiana players to score 43 or more points in a game since 2000. "I was trying to will us into the game."
Both teams were playing the second of a back-to-back. The Blazers beat the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 114-108, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Lakers at the Staples Center.
The Pacers (16-2) were coming off a 105-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday to open a five-game road trip.