Portland Trail Blazers end losing streak, take one in Indiana and Memphis

Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Finally (adverb; at the end of a period of time), the Portland Trail Blazers losing streak came to an end. The definition of finally describes it perfectly.

Before Tuesday afternoon’s game versus Indiana at Bankers Life Field House, the Pacers line up of Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, Edmond Sumner, and Oshae Brissett had an average of 81 points in their previous 5 games, including a 3 game winning streak leading up to the game, 29-31, second in the Central Division.

Portland Trail Blazers end losing streak, take one in Indiana and Memphis

“From a defensive standpoint, the priorities are limiting their perimeter players without Sabonis (Domantas, back injury), and Turner (Myles, toe); they are a different team,” Coach Terry Stotts told reporters before the game. “They’re very perimeter-oriented, with Brogdon, and Levert, also McConnell (TJ)comes in, McDermott (Doug) comes in. They’re a very perimeter-oriented team. They get out on transition offense. Those are the priorities tonight.”

The game was back and forth in the first, with Indiana leading 35-34 to end the quarter. The second was the same way, looking like the previous games, until Anfernee Simons made his second of 9 three-pointers, giving Portland a 58-53 lead with 4:22 to go in the half. The Blazers led 73-62 at the break.

The Pacers would start the second half down by 10, as Damian Lillard was hit with a technical and free throw by Brogdon. Indiana would get within 10 an additional time, and the Blazers never looked back. At one point, the lead was 43 in the final quarter. The final, 133-112. Simons led all scorers, 27 points, 9-13 shooting, including 9-10 on 3’s. Lillard 23 points on 6-14 field goals. Brissett and Brogdon 18 apiece for the Pacers.

“After the first half, I didn’t miss any, just tried to keep it going in the second half. I got me a lot of them at the beginning. After that, I felt good and like I couldn’t miss at all,” Simons told Brooke Olzendam in his walk-off interview, on when he felt like it was his night, as Enes Kanter hugged him during, and Robert Covington poured water on him before.

Meanwhile, the Blazers traveled to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies Wednesday evening, for their third game in a week with them.

Let’s say this. The game was over by halftime, Portland leading 74-46, Norman Powell, CJ McCollum, and Damian Lillard combining for 54 points. The Blazers finished the half shooting 54%, including 10/22 on 3’s, to Memphis’ 35%, and 3/15 from outside.

The final, 130-109. McCollum 26 points, Lillard and Powell 24. Carmelo Anthony 18 off the bench. Portland finished 45/92 48.9%, to the Grizzlies 37-88 42.0%.

“Our Focus, we saw the quote that Dillon Brooks (Memphis forward)put out about wanting to sweep us, and we couldn’t allow that to happen,” Powell told Olzendam in Wednesday’s walk-off interview, on what went into the convincing win. “They got two on our floor, so we had to come out with an aggressive mindset defensively and offensively. I thought we were able to sustain that throughout the game.”

It is worth noting. Simons set a franchise record of 9 straight 3’s without a miss, and is 1 of 3 players to tie NBA history during Tuesday’s game…On a 2-way contract, TJ Leaf made his Blazers debut Tuesday, 2 points in 9 minutes of action.

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