43 points from George not enough for visitors.
There were five games on the NBA schedule on Monday night, and the Portland Trail Blazers didn’t disappoint their home crowd following a win over the Indiana Pacers.
Much of the talk prior to the Pacers’ road trip around the West coast was their failure to make a championship statement against one of the top teams in the NBA despite their impressive record.
Frank Vogel’s men arguably made that statement against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night, but they were unable to replicate that performance in Portland.
The hosts had 28 points and 10 rebounds from LeMarcus Aldridge, while Paul George responded with a career-high 43 points for the Pacers.
However, it was the Blazers who eventually prevailed and point guard Damian Lillard (26 points) believes that they had a point to prove on Monday night.
“It was a tough one, and we knew it was going to be a tough one going in,” Lillard said, according to ESPN.
“They’re a good team; they only had one loss. But we’re a good team, too, and we wanted to prove that.”
The result leaves Portland at 15-3 for the season at the top of the Western Conference, while Indiana remain at the top of the East with a 16-2 record.
Joining the Blazers at 15-3 are the San Antonio Spurs, after their tight 102-100 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
After an impressive start, last year’s beaten finalists had suffered a slight dip in recent games as they slipped up at home to the Houston Rockets while also suffering a defeat in Oklahoma City.
However, Tim Duncan stepped up to hit a jump-shot with 0.4 seconds left to lift the Spurs to victory and the 37-year-old ended the game with 23 points and 21 rebounds.
The veteran star conceded that he struggled during the opening stages of the season but feels his fitness is now improving as he looks to have his usual influence on games.
Elsewhere, the New Orleans Pelicans eventually prevailed over the Chicago Bulls in a third overtime period to inflict a first home loss of the season on their opponents.
Despite the disappointment of Anthony Davis picking up a fractured hand which will see him miss the next two months at least, the Pelicans had Ryan Anderson score 36 points which was enough to keep Luol Deng (37 points) and the Bulls at bay.
Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards sealed a win over the Orlando Magic, while the Utah Jazz had the second biggest shock of the night with their victory over the Houston Rockets.
Orlando Magic 80-98 Washington Wizards
New Orleans Pelicans 131-128 Chicago Bulls
Atlanta Hawks 100-102 San Antonio Spurs
Houston Rockets 103-109 Utah Jazz
Indiana Pacers 102-106 Portland Trail Blazers