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Nurkic fractures right wrist as Blazers fall to Pacers, 111-87

Former Zags star Sabonis leads Indiana with double-double of 23 points, 15 rebounds

8 Photos
Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis, left, and Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic reach for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.
Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis, left, and Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic reach for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer) Photo Gallery

PORTLAND — The Indiana Pacers figured if they slowed down Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, they’d have a good chance against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The tactic worked. Domantas Sabonis had 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Indiana held Portland’s dynamic backcourt duo in check for a 111-87 victory Thursday night.

Malcolm Brogdon added 25 points and seven assists for the Pacers, who improved to 4-1 on the road this season and snapped an 11-game losing streak in Portland. Indiana led by 25 in the second quarter and maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way.

McCollum and Lillard each scored 22 for the Blazers, playing the second of a back-to-back.

“We talked about it as a team before the game — we’ve got to keep the ball out of Lillard and McCollum’s hands as much as we can and try to make them really work for everything they get,” Indiana’s Doug McDermott said.

The loss was costly for Portland: During the third quarter, center Jusuf Nurkic left the court holding his right wrist and the Blazers later announced he had sustained a fracture.

Lillard was asked how Nurkic was doing after the game.

“Frustrated. Disappointed. A little sad,” Lillard said. “Like anybody would be in that situation.”

The 7-foot-0 Bosnian was averaging 10.3 points and 7.6 rebounds heading into the game.

Nurkic missed much of the first half of last season after breaking his left leg in a game in March 2019. He returned to the team to play in the the bubble in Orlando after the season was put on hold because of coronavirus.

“He had a long road back from his other injury,” coach Terry Stotts said. “He had a rough start of the season, it looked like he was getting back on track. Obviously this is a big setback for him and for us.”

Stotts said Nurkic was in a splint after the game.

The Trail Blazers (7-5) won in Sacramento 132-126 on Wednesday night in a game that Lillard had a season-high 40 points and tied a franchise record with 23 3-pointers.

The Blazers lead the NBA in 3s but they were off against the Pacers, making just 13 of 43 (30.2%).

The Pacers (8-4) were coming off a 104-95 road victory over the Warriors on Tuesday night, when Myles Turner had a season-best 22 points. He finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds against the Blazers, along with four blocks.

The Pacers traded Victor Oladipo to the Rockets as part of the four-team blockbuster Thursday that sent James Harden from Houston to Brooklyn. Indiana got guard Caris LeVert from the Nets and a draft pick in the deal.

“We lost a very good player, but this team is going to play very good ball,” Brogdon said.

Indiana led by six in the opening quarter, but the score was tied at 26 going into the second. A 12-0 run capped by McDermott’s layup put the Pacers up 40-28.

Indiana extended its lead to 25 before going into halftime up 59-36. The Pacers outscored the Blazers 33-10 in the second period.

But the Blazers chipped away at Indiana’s lead, pulling to 82-71 late in the third on Carmelo Anthony’s 3-pointer.

“I thought Myles and Domas — their aggressive mentality in all the actions, ball screens and pin downs — our guys did a great job of communicating and backing each other up,” Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren said.


Pacers: Sabonis has 107 double-doubles with the Pacers, one shy of tying Roy Hibbert for seventh in team history. … The Pacers hadn’t won in Portland since 2007. … T.J. McConnell returned after missing three games because of the birth of his son.

Trail Blazers: Portland’s 10 points in the second quarter were a season low. … McCollum, who is from Ohio, punctuated his postgame chat with reporters by exclaiming, “Go Browns!” Cleveland plays the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL playoffs on Sunday.


The Trail Blazers host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.

Pacers 111, Trail Blazers 87


J.Holiday 4-6 0-0 11, Sabonis 10-18 3-4 23, Turner 4-14 3-4 11, Brogdon 10-18 2-2 25, Sumner 3-8 0-0 7, Martin 1-1 0-0 3, McDermott 6-14 3-3 16, Sampson 1-4 1-2 3, A.Holiday 3-6 0-0 6, McConnell 2-3 0-0 4, Stanley 0-0 2-3 2. Totals 44-92 14-18 111.


Covington 1-7 0-0 3, Jones Jr. 4-4 0-0 9, Nurkic 2-8 0-0 5, Lillard 7-16 6-6 22, McCollum 8-18 2-2 22, Anthony 4-11 0-0 10, Giles III 1-3 0-0 2, Elleby 1-1 0-0 3, Hood 0-1 0-0 0, Little 0-0 0-0 0, Trent Jr. 3-9 0-0 7, Kanter 1-4 2-2 4, Simons 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 32-87 10-10 87.

Indiana 26 33 25 27 111
Portland 26 10 35 16 87

3-Point Goals—Indiana 9-29 (J.Holiday 3-4, Brogdon 3-6, Sumner 1-4, McDermott 1-6, A.Holiday 0-2, Sabonis 0-2, Turner 0-4), Portland 13-43 (McCollum 4-10, Anthony 2-5, Lillard 2-5, Nurkic 1-3, Covington 1-5, Trent Jr. 1-6, Simons 0-5). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Indiana 50 (Sabonis 15), Portland 43 (Kanter 9). Assists—Indiana 29 (McConnell 8), Portland 16 (Lillard, McCollum 4). Total Fouls—Indiana 13, Portland 22.