Anfernee Simons’ third-quarter explosion keeps Trail Blazers perfect

Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Anfernee Simons had one of the most exhilarating individual quarter performances you will ever see against a feisty Denver Nuggets team on Monday with 22 points, including six 3-pointers in a six-minute span.

Simons finished the game with 29 points, three rebounds, and five assists. Starting the season 5-of-24 from the outside including a donut in the 3-point column against the Lakers, Ant is comfortably stepping into the number two role for this Portland team, and it has to feel good to get that monkey off of his back.

Ant was asked about the support of his teammates during his killer third-quarter stint after the game.

Jusuf Nurkic has much-needed performance against former team

Nurk has struggled in his last five matchups before last night against his former team. According to Stat Muse, Nurk averaged 9.2 points, 2.6 assists, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.6 turnovers. Jokic served as the understudy to Nurkic in his first season as the mid-second-round pick in the 2014 Draft.

Jokic impressed while Nurk was traded away, and he has not had more than 15 points when playing against his former team. Last night was important for Nurkic, and not only on the stat sheet. Defensively, he held Jokic to nine points, nine assists, and nine rebounds.

Hampered by foul trouble, the Bosnian Beast did not make it easy, going to the line four times and finishing the game with 13 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, and a block.

The Shooters are shooting!

Down six going into the second half, an encouraging end to the half off of the Damian Lillard buzzer beater only brought curiosity to the effectiveness Portland would play with early in the third. Then Ant Time happened.

According to Portland’s Analytics Insider Corey Jez, the Blazers’ effective field goal percentage finished at 67.9, the highest among any team this season so far through the first 100 games.

Lillard continues to have his best start to a season to date, finishing with a team-high 31 points.

The Diversity in lineups bodes well against Denver

Anfernee Simon‘s big night gave Chauncey Billups even more flexibility in creativity with the lineups. At one point having Simmons, Jusuf Nurkic, Nasir Little, Josh Hart, and Shadeon Sharpe together for a stint in the fourth quarter showed the speed that this team can possess against some of the bigger teams they will be up against this year.

With Justice Winslow out, Billups and staff used some of their unique sets and combinations to disrupt Denver’s success. They have found success with a mix of 2-3, 3-2 zones, and half-court man sets that are diverse, and they have the ability to switch out quickly.

The Denver Nuggets fans should be encouraged by the way their Big 3 started the game, especially seeing Jamal Murray and Michael Porter jr. making 3-pointers. Aaron Gordon was flying everywhere on the court and has an effective opportunity to be second in points per game on this team.

The next matchup in Portland on December 8th should be a good one!