After becoming the NBA’s Most Improved Player, an All-Star and a standout in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George continues to impress this season. The 23-year-old scored 43 points on Monday night, reaching a career-high in points and becoming only the fourth Pacer to accomplish such a feat since 2000.
Unfortunately, it was all for naught as the Pacers fell to the Portland Trail Blazers 106-102 at the Moda Center—formerly known as the Rose Garden—a notoriously tough place to play for visiting teams. Still, George managed to shine, but found that carrying his team’s offensive load wasn’t enough.
"I really wanted to get this win," said George, who went 16-of-30 from the field, including 7-of-15 from behind the 3-point line. "I was trying to will us into the game."
George was also stellar on the defensive end, rounding out his performance with three steals. Pacers center Roy Hibbert added 16 points and 14 rebounds.
The Blazers’ dynamic duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard combined for 54 points, which helped snap the Pacers’ seven-game winning streak and hand them only their second loss of the young season.
"It was a tough one, and we knew it was going to be a tough one going in," said Lillard. "They're a good team, they only had one loss. But we're a good team too, and we wanted to prove that."