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NBA Recap (Portland-Indiana)
Posted: Fri February 27, 1998 at 11:25 p.m. ESTINDIANA 124, PORTLAND 59
The Indiana Pacers posted the second-most decisive victory in NBA history, pasting the Portland Trail Blazers, 124-59, as Mark Jackson led eight players in double figures with 18 points.
The Pacers hit 49-of-77 shots (64 percent) in their biggest victory ever, falling three points short of the NBA record, a 148-80 rout by the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Miami Heat on December 17th, 1991.
"It is just what we needed," said Jackson. "We all played well. The ball movement was crisp and the defense was great. We must really be ready to come out and play Sunday (against Denver)."
Travis Best, who finished with 10 points, capped the Pacers' best scoring effort of the season and gave them the final margin of victory with two free throws with 34 seconds left.
"Our main focus was to come in and establish ourselves," said Portland coach Mike Dunleavy. "We wanted to be prepared, but we weren't. The calls went their way because they were the aggressor and they went up big. I saw what was happening so I sat our main guys so that we could prevent injury."
Portland scored 14 points in the first and third quarters, 15 in the second and 16 in the final period in suffering the worst defeat in club history. The Trail Blazers also shattered their previous low in points, achieved on January 13th in a 76-68 loss to Miami.
The Blazers, fresh off a 106-101 victory over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Wednesday, matched the NBA's second-lowest point total ever. They were two points off the all-time low.
"There wasn't a letdown, they just played well" said Rasheed Wallace, who led Portland with 14 points. "Things just didn't go right for us. They came out of the gate fast and hit a lot of shots. We tried to make a run, but the score was too phenomenal."
Indiana put it away early, ripping off a 16-0 run to take an 18-2 lead midway through the first period. Rik Smits had eight points and the Pacers held the Blazers scoreless for more than 6 1/2 minutes during the burst.
"It was a tremendous game from us from start to finish," said Smits. "We thought they would be on a high by beating Chicago and I knew we had to be ready. I think we were ready."
Leading 33-14 after one quarter, the Pacers kept the pressure up, pulling away with a 14-0 spurt. Indiana shot 59 percent (25-of-42) in the first half and held a 59-29 cushion at the break before padding its lead to 84-43 after three quarters.
Portland made just 12 shots on 34 attempts in the opening half. Five of those baskets were made by Isaiah Rider, who scored all of his 11 points in the first half.
"It all started with the defense in the first half," claimed Indiana coach Larry Bird. "I don't think we've played defense any better than that. Tonight we played about as well as we could. I don't care who we would have played tonight, we would have won."
Jalen Rose finished with 13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds to lead a huge bench effort. All 12 players scored for Indiana, which got eight points on 4-of-4 shooting by seldom-used rookie Austin Croshere.
No starter played more than 29 minutes for the Pacers. Smits and Dale Davis each scored 12 points, Reggie Miller 11 and Chris Mullin contributed 10. The Pacers were strong defensively, limiting Portland to 33 percent (24-of-72) shooting.
Smits added 12 rebounds as Indiana enjoyed a 48-28 rebounding edge. The Pacers abused the Blazers inside, outscoring them 56-26 in the paint. Indiana was on target from long range as well, draining 9-of-15 three-pointers. Jackson, who dished out seven assists, stroked 4-of-5 shots from behind the arc.
Even with nobody covering them, the Blazers were unable to shoot accurately. Portland was just 8-of-19 from the line, and were dismal from long range, hitting just 3-of-17 three-pointers.
"We just have to come back and play hard against Boston," said Portland's Damon Stoudamire. "I lost a lot in Toronto, but I don't know if I ever lost like this."
The Trail Blazers play the final game of their three-game road swing Sunday against the Celtics.
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