NBA: Anfernee Simons' hot start helps Blazers top Wizards

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jan 16 2022 11:11 AM

Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots the ball over Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija (9) during the first half at Capital One Arena. Scott Taetsch, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots the ball over Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija (9) during the first half at Capital One Arena. Scott Taetsch, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.


Anfernee Simons scored 26 of his 31 points in the first half and Jusuf Nurkic finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds as the visiting Portland Trail Blazers snapped the Washington Wizards' three-game winning streak with a 115-110 victory on Saturday.

Simons returned after missing one game for personal reasons and made 7 of 10 from long range in the first half for Portland, which has won three of its last four. Nassir Little scored 18 points, Robert Covington added 15 and Ben McLemore had 10.

Spencer Dinwiddie led Washington with 27 points and seven assists. Kyle Kuzma recorded his 17th double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Montrezl Harrell scored 16 points, Corey Kispert added 13 and Aaron Holiday had 10.

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Washington trailed by as many as 18 in the third quarter before cutting the deficit to 111-105 on Dinwiddie's 3-pointer with 1:02 remaining in the game.

Dinwiddie hit another trey with 24.4 seconds left to bring Washington within four points, but Portland held on to win for just the third time in 17 road games.

Washington trailed 29-24 after the first quarter after struggling to contain Simons, who made three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the period.

The Blazers held a 68-57 advantage at the half behind Simons.

Kuzma, who entered the contest averaging 26.3 points over his last eight games, scored his only points of the first half with 6:30 left in the second quarter to put Washington ahead 42-41.

After a dunk by Nurkic, Simons his team's next 12 points as the Blazers took a 55-46 lead with 3:31 left in the half.

Washington held Simons scoreless in the third quarter but trailed 94-80 entering the final period.

The Wizards, who played without Bradley Beal (health and safety protocol) for the third consecutive game, trailed 106-90 after Simons made a steal and scored on a layup with 5:33 remaining. Simons matched his career high with 11 assists.

Portland played without Damian Lillard (abdominal surgery), CJ McCollum (right lung), Norman Powell (health and safety protocol), Larry Nance Jr. (right knee) and Cody Zeller (right knee).

Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. missed the contest after entering the NBA's health and safety protocol and was replaced by assistant coach Pat Delany.