Damian Lillard is back, Blazers continue against Pacers
The winners a day before the Jazz thanks to the success of Anfernee Simons (45 points), the Blazers welcome the Pacers tonight to chain the second consecutive victory and look up again. Boosted by the return of Damian Lillard, the locals confirmed with a clear win (116-100) against the Pacers who were deprived of Tyrese Haliburton.
It all happened in the third quarter. Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant alternated scoring 23 of their team’s 39 points in the period, 11 and 12 respectively. Down by 22 points at times, the Pacers were able to cut the gap in half in the final quarter, but could get no closer.
Again well-balanced in attack with Lillard, and an effective passing game (32 passes for 42 shots), the Blazers also relied on a solid address from distance (17/40), led by Anfernee Simons’ 5/9 or Damian Lillard’s 5/10.
Without Haliburton, the Pacers therefore have their third straight setback on this difficult “road trip” that has lasted a week now (four losses in five games).
WHAT YOU SHOULD REMEMBER
– Lillard’s winning return. After eight failed games, including seven losses, the Blazers were overjoyed to find their All Star leader last night. In another good sign, Lillard put back his first shot of the night, a signature “step back” from 3-pointers in the corner. A little rusty, Dame certainly finished 7/16 on shots and 4 stray bullets, but his contribution (21 points, 6 assists) was even greater. eventuallywith the Blazers rolling over their opponent in the 3rd quarter (39-25).
– Tyrese Haliburton in the infirmary. Averaging 19 points, 11 assists and 4 rebounds this season, he is showing his talent this season with the Pacers. Unfortunately, that night he missed the first game of his season with a groin doubler. Rick Carlisle has already indicated that the leader will also leave against Golden State to close this “back to back”.
✅ Anfernee Simons. After his 45-point offensive explosion, Simons kept his hand hot with 22 points and 6 assists, 8/14 on shots including 5/9 from behind the arc. Very cleanly, “Ant” received only one stray bullet, exploding for 11 of his 22 points in the 3rd quarter that made the switch.
✅ Damian Lillard. For his first game since November 19, Damian Lillard made a successful return. With 21 points and 6 assists, he was solid overall, though he missed some finishes near the circle and wasted 4 balls.
✅ Buddy Hield. Without Haliburton, Buddy Hield was in the oven and was great, finishing with a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. After his meager 6 point game (2/8) in Utah, Buddy Love is eager to make the icing again…
⛔ Benedict Mathurin. With a skill deficit for three games, and the loss in Sacramento, the Pacers rookie unscrewed again last night. At 5/15 on shots for 10 points, it’s three straight games that the former Arizona player hasn’t scored from beyond the arc (0/7).
Indiana (12-10) : penultimate stage of their “road trip” in the Golden State tonight.
Portland (12-11) : receiving the Nuggets on Thursday.