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Blazers set pace

PORTLAND — Damian Lillard had 28 points and 10 assists, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Indiana Pacers and former coach Nate McMillan 131-109 on Wednesday night.

Maurice Harkless added 23 points for the Blazers, who led by as many as 28 in their fifth consecutive victory over the Pacers.

The Trail Blazers had lost six of their last eight games as they've struggled to find consistency on defense. Portland was coming off a 130-114 loss at home to the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

Jeff Teague led Indiana with 25 points, while Myles Turner had 19 points and 10 rebounds. It was the first of a five-game road swing for the Pacers, who had won two straight.

Portland was still missing forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who has been out for more than two weeks with a calf injury. But there are signs that Aminu could return soon, possibly even by Sunday against the Miami Heat.

The Pacers were without All-Star Paul George for the third consecutive game and seventh overall due to a sore left ankle.

Portland took a 22-13 lead after Meyers Leonard's 3-pointer. Mason Plumlee's alley-oop dunk from CJ McCollum put Portland up 39-27 and Evan Turner, who has been looking more comfortable with the Blazers in the last half-dozen games, made a 3-pointer to push the lead to 46-29.

Lillard, who had just four points in the first quarter, got rolling in the final 7 minutes of the second with 14 and the Blazers led 73-58 at halftime. Portland shot 63 percent in the first half.

In the third quarter it was McCollum's turn. After managing just four points in the first half, McCollum had 15 in the third period and the Blazers went up 109-83 heading into the fourth. He finished with 19 points.

It was the first Portland appearance for McMillan since he became head coach of the Pacers. McMillan was promoted in the offseason after the Pacers dismissed Frank Vogel.

McMillan coached the Blazers from 2005-12. The latter part of his tenure was marked by the devastating injuries to top draft pick Greg Oden and later to star guard Brandon Roy.

McMillan said before the game that he remembers Portland fondly as a "great basketball town." He said his second stint as a head coach really can't be compared to the first because with the Blazers he was in a rebuilding mode, while with the Pacers he's got a more mature and seasoned squad.

"It's going to be about winning and doing things the right way," McMillan said about his new head coaching gig. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity."


Pacers: McMillan was greeted with warm applause by fans at the Moda Center. He joked that his nickname was no longer "Sarge" as it was in Portland. ... Joe Young and Aaron Brooks both played for the Oregon Ducks.

Trail Blazers: Harkless has scored 15 or more points in three straight games for the first time with the Blazers. ... Portland set season highs with 131 points and 73 in the first half.


The Pacers visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

The Trail Blazers host the Miami Heat on Saturday.

Portland Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless pulls down a rebound during the second half on Wednesday. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS