The Rundown: Lillard, Simons lead Blazers past Nuggets

Published October 25, 2022, 1:00 PMPolo Bustamante

Damian Lillard dropped 31 and Anfernee Simons caught fire in the third quarter as the Trail Blazers moved up to 4-0.


76ers 120, Pacers 106

Raptors 98, Heat 90

Knicks 115, Magic 102

Bulls 120, Celtics 102

Rockets 114, Jazz 108

Grizzlies 134, Nets 124

Spurs 115, Timberwolves 106

Trail Blazers 135, Nuggets 110

What went down

When the Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets went into the halftime break of their game, the Nuggets were up six. At the end of the third quarter, the Blazers were up by 13 points. What happened? Anfernee Simons happened.

The Blazers shooting guard erupted for 22 points, built on six three-pointers in just eight minutes of play, in the third quarter. Before his explosion he only had seven points to his name heading into the break.

It started out innocently. Then it got funny. It ended up being downright ridiculous as Simons was heaving up heat check shots that just found the bottom of the net. Portland’s superstar, Damian Lillard wasn’t even trying to make a play anymore. He was just passing it to Simons. 

The strategy of feeding the hot hand worked for the Blazers. They beat the Nuggets easily after that third quarter explosion, to start the new season with four straight wins. Simons finished the game with 29 points. Lillard led the way with 31 points, while dishing out eight assists.

Unlike the Blazers, the Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz couldn’t keep their records unblemished.

The Celtics looked like they were on their way to win number four, jumping out to a nine-point first quarter lead. Then their offense cratered in the second quarter. They only managed to score 15 points in the second period, relinquishing the lead, and eventually the game, to the Bulls.

The Jazz also crashed back down to earth in their fourth game. After beating several playoff contenders to start the season, they couldn’t get their defense straight against a young Houston Rockets team. The Jazz sent the Rockets to the line 32 times, and that spelled the difference in the six-point loss.

Big-time baller

While Simons’ explosion was awesome, credit has to be given to James Harden for leading the Philadelphia 76ers to their first win of the season.

Harden looked like his old MVP self, tallying a near triple-double with 29 points, nine rebounds, and 11 assists on 55 percent shooting.

The Sixers need Harden to string together more games like this to quickly climb out of their 0-3 hole.

Did you see that?

Do you remember the scrimmage games during the NBA Bubble? That was Bol Bol’s coming out party. He was hitting three-pointers, swatting shots, and attacking the rim. Those were fun times.

Bol never got to replicate that run again with the Denver Nuggets, being the third-string center of the team. Thankfully, he was able to get out of that situation after he was traded to the Orlando Magic. He’s now making the most out of his opportunity as the team’s back-up center.

In today’s game against the New York Knicks, Bol showed out with a career-high 19 points in just 20 minutes of play. He was back to doing Bubble stuff once again.

What he said

After the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Memphis Grizzlies, Kevin Durant had some words of approval for Ja Morant.

It’s easy to see why Durant is so high on Morant. Just check out the ridiculous things Morant did in their game today.