Lillard scores 50 as Trail Blazers beat Pacers 139-129

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 50 points and 13 assists, becoming the first Portland player with 40-plus points in three straight games, and the Trail Blazers beat the Indiana Pacers 139-129 on a Sunday night marked by grief over the death of NBA great Kobe Bryant.

The Trail Blazers honored Bryant with 24 seconds of silence before the game, and the team took a 24-second shot-clock violation at the start before the Pacers took an eight-second timeline penalty, recognizing Bryant’s jersey numbers. Several fans at the Moda Center wore Lakers jerseys in salute to a player who spent his entire career with rival Los Angeles.

CJ McCollum returned after a three-game absence because of an ankle injury and added 28 points for the Blazers (20-27). Hassan Whiteside had 21 points and 14 rebounds.

Domantas Sabonis, whose father Arvydas played for the Blazers, had 27 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds for the Pacers for his second career triple-double. His first came last Sunday at Denver.

Indiana (30-17) hasn’t won in Portland since the 2007-08 season, a streak of 11 games.

But there was a pall over the game because of the helicopter crash earlier Sunday that killed Bryant, one of his daughters, and seven others in Southern California. Both coaches spoke about Bryant before the game.

“Anytime you played against him, you knew you were going to get his best effort. That’s just the way he played the game,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan was an assistant for the U.S. national teams that featured Bryant in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. A former coach of the Trail Blazers, McMillan recalled how Bryant once scored 65 points against Portland.

“He’s a guy that, as he was growing up, I think there was that commercial, `I want to be like Mike.’ He wanted to be like Mike. And now he has young kids saying, `I want to be like Kobe,’” McMillan said. ``I had the opportunity 2008, 2012, to see those great guys, Kobe, Wade and LeBron, work. And he really set the example in 2008 for how he prepared, and how the world respected him — the attention he got in Beijing. It was unreal to see how those fans there treated him and respected him.”

The Pacers were without starter Malcolm Brogdon, who missed his second straight game in concussion protocol after taking an elbow against Phoenix on Wednesday. Indiana center Myles Turner also sat out because of illness.

Lillard hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first quarter and give the Blazers a 36-27 lead. Whiteside’s alley-oop dunk from Lillard put the Blazers up 57-49 late in the half and Portland had a 66-56 lead at the break.

Whiteside had another dunk off a pass from Carmleo Anthony and added a free throw to put the Blazers up 93-76. Portland led by as many as 21 but Indiana closed to 103-96 at the end of the third quarter.

TIP-INS

Pacers: It was the last of a five-game road trip for Indiana. ... Victor Oladipo, who has been sidelined for a year by a ruptured quadriceps tendon, is eyeing a return Wednesday against Chicago at home.

Trail Blazers: The team held ’90s Night at the game, part of its 50th anniversary celebration. Stars from that era such as Jermaine O’Neal, Chris Dudley, Terry Porter and Brian Grant were among those on hand. ... Lillard led all scorers with 23 points at halftime.

UP NEXT

The Pacers host Chicago on Wednesday.

The Trail Blazers host Houston on Wednesday.

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