Updated at: 12/05/2012 8:05 PM
By CLIFF BRUNT
(AP) INDIANAPOLIS - Paul George scored 22 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 99-92 on Wednesday night.
George Hill added 18 points and David West had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers (10-9) , who have won four of five and moved above .500 for the first time since a 2-1 start. Indiana, the league leader in scoring defense, held the Blazers to 43 percent shooting.
Damian Lillard led Portland (8-11) with 23 points. Wesley Matthews scored 19, LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and J.J. Hickson had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Trail Blazers.
Indiana outscored Portland 31-14 in the third quarter to take control. The Trail Blazers made a push in the fourth but could get no closer than four.
Hickson’s tip-in at the buzzer gave the Blazers a 50-48 lead at halftime. Lillard had 14 points at the break for Portland.
Indiana opened the second half on a 6-0 run to take a 54-50 lead.
A 3-pointer and a pair of free throws by George gave the Pacers a 67-60 edge, and Ian Mahinmi’s basket in close pushed Indiana’s lead to nine and forced Portland to call a timeout.
A fast-break layup by George out of the break bumped Indiana’s lead to double digits, and a free throw by D.J. Augustin closed out the 10-0 run. During that three-minute stretch, the Trail Blazers went 0-for-3 from the field and committed three turnovers.
West’s putback in the final seconds of the third quarter gave Indiana a 79-64 lead entering the fourth. Indiana held Portland to 7-for-19 shooting in the third. George, who had eight points in the first half, scored nine in the quarter.
George picked up where he left off, draining a 3-pointer from the corner in the opening minute of the fourth to give the Pacers an 18-point lead.
Portland battled back in the early minutes of the fourth. Matthews hit two free throws to trim Indiana’s lead to 85-79 and Lillard added a layup to make it 85-81.
But Indiana regrouped. A drive by George and a last-second dish for a dunk by Hill gave Indiana a 93-86 lead with just over four minutes remaining.
Portland had a chance to cut Indiana’s lead to three, but Hibbert blocked Hickson’s shot and pulled in the rebound with 50 seconds to play.
Notes: Pacers F Danny Granger remains out with left patellar tendinosis. . Hibbert entered the game second in the league with 3.06 blocks per contest. He had three more on Wednesday . West was issued a technical foul in the second quarter. . Lillard was named Western Conference rookie of the month on Wednesday. . Mahinmi scored a season-high 12 points to help Indiana’s reserves outscore Portland’s 31-13. . Portland fell to 2-5 on its road trip.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)