Blazers prep for trip with home bout vs. Pacers

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers are back home briefly and will try to dispose of the Indiana Pacers Thursday at the Moda Center.

The Trail Blazers will begin a five-game road trip Sunday against New York, Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago and Indiana, but must take care of business at home first versus the Pacers.

Portland is back in Rip City after defeating the Denver Nuggets, 105-103, on Tuesday and Brook Lopez deposited the deciding basket with 1.3 seconds left. Out of a timeout, Blazers star forward LaMarcus Aldridge took the inbounds pass at the foul line and fed Lopez, who shielded J.J. Hickson and easily converted the basket.

"That's pretty much how it was drawn up," said Lopez. "(Aldridge) made a great pass. I am just happy I put it in."

Aldridge posted a season-high 39 points to go along with 11 rebounds to lead Portland, while Damian Lillard registered 17 points with six assists and Wesley Matthews added 15 points in the win. Lopez scored 11 points and the Blazers shot 50 percent for the game.

The Blazers have a 9-2 record at home and a 14-4 overall mark. They are 11-1 in the previous 12 games.

Indiana has lost the first two tests of its four-game road trip and opened the western portion with Tuesday's 116-99 loss in Phoenix.

Roy Hibbert had missed the last four games with a balky ankle and returned to post 15 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana, which played well for three quarters until the Suns had a 33-20 scoring advantage in the final 12 minutes.

C.J. Miles scored 17 points and David West chipped in 10 and six rebounds.

The Pacers shot 48.2 percent for the game, but 19 turnovers led to 24 Phoenix points. The Suns shot 50 percent and made 12-of-25 3-pointers.

"Their starters outplayed our starters in the first half and the second half," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said.

The Pacers struggled to protect the perimeter and are allowing 93.7 points. The defense will face a tough test against Aldridge and Lillard. Hibbert will be key inside and needs two blocks to pass Dale Davis (904) for fourth place all-time in blocked shots in Pacers franchise history.

Indiana and Portland split two meetings last season with each team prevailing at home. The Pacers have lost five straight trips to the Pacific Northwest and will also visit Sacramento Friday night.