Pacers outrebound Portland 61-38, get easy win

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indiana Pacers avoided a letdown this

The Pacers followed Saturday's win over the Detroit Pistons with
a 101-69 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.

Stephen Jackson scored 25 points, and the Pacers held the
Blazers to 26.7 percent shooting to claim their third straight win.
Indiana set a franchise best in field-goal percentage defense, and
it was the lowest percentage allowed in an NBA game this season.

In November, the Pacers followed a Thanksgiving night blowout
win over Cleveland with a home loss to struggling Atlanta. The
Pacers also have home losses to Chicago and Toronto, which both had
losing records.

The Pacers knew they couldn't let that happen again if they
wanted to keep the momentum going from back-to-back wins over the
Los Angeles Lakers and the Pistons. Portland entered Wednesday's
game 12 games below .500.

"After winning those last two games, those were big games for
us, it all would have been for nothing if we didn't come in here
and win this game tonight," Jackson said. "We know we can beat
these guys. We wanted to come in here and match their effort."

Peja Stojakovic added 23 points for the Pacers. It was the
second time in three games the Pacers set a season high for margin
of victory.

Zach Randolph had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Blazers,
but he shot 6-for-19 from the floor. Portland has lost six of nine
since a four-game winning streak.

"We weren't together all night and didn't compete," Portland
coach Nate McMillan said. "We just didn't show up as a basketball
team and do the things necessary to win. The Pacers rebounded well
and dominated the game in every area."

David Harrison had 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, and
Scot Pollard added 16 rebounds for the Pacers. Indiana outrebounded
Portland 61-38 to win its fifth in a row in the series.

The Pacers have outrebounded opponents by an average of 58-42
during the winning streak. Pollard said the Pacers haven't changed
their level of emphasis on rebounding.

"It's always a focus," he said. "You get more possessions,
you win games. "We've just been hustling more and going after it
more. It's coming to us."

Pollard has had double figures in rebounds in three of his last
four games.

"I'm playing the way I always play, it's just that the ball is
landing in my hands more often," he said.

Randolph was coming off a 28-point, 12-rebound effort in loss to
Denver on Saturday. He had averaged 26 points in his previous four
games. He had only four points after the break.

The Pacers shot 52 percent from the field in the first quarter
to take a 28-12 lead. Stojakovic had 12 points and Jackson 10 in
the period.

The Pacers limited Portland to 25 percent shooting in the first
half to take a 41-33 lead at the break.

The Pacers took control for good early in the third quarter. Two
3-pointers apiece from Stojakovic and Jackson gave Indiana a 57-37
lead with 5:55 left in the period.

Stojakovic bounced back from a 3-for-14 effort against Detroit
by going 9-of-15. Jackson shot 10-for-17 from the floor.

"I think the guys we have are playing well together on both
ends of the court," Jackson said. "We're sharing the ball, we're
helping each other on defense, not relying on one man to guard his
man all the time. We give each other a lot of help."

Game notes
Randolph is from Marion, Ind. ... Portland fell to 5-17 on
the road. ... The Pacers have won the first three games of a
seven-game homestand. ... The Pacers improved to 3-0 with the
starting lineup of Jackson, Stojakovic, Pollard, Jeff Foster and
Anthony Johnson. They are 3-1 since Stojakovic came to the Pacers
in the trade that sent Ron Artest to Sacramento ... Stojakovic is
averaging 18.5 points since the trade.


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