Blazers dominate without Dame to move to 5-1

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Portland Trail Blazers are off to a fast start behind an MVP caliber start from Damian Lillard, so being without him for two weeks could be a major blow, but at least on Friday night in a matchup with the Houston Rockets, they certainly didn’t let it effect them in the slightest. On the back of two incredible performances, Portland were able to take their season record to 5-1, and even without Lillard for another week, this team has given its fans the confidence that they can compete with anyone regardless.

Anfernee Simons once again showed how much he has developed with Dame around, dropping 30 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists, and led the team from start to finish, proving why he’s a prime candidate for his first All-Star appearance in 2022. He shot 7-15 from deep, and while he slowed down significantly in the second half, he led this team well, showing that he can be a leader of the future and the present, despite being just 23-years of age.

Beyond that, there were solid contributions from Jerami Grant, Shaedon Sharpe and Drew Eubanks, but the biggest supporting performance came from Jusuf Nurkic, who ended the game with an impressive 27 points and 15 rebounds, and while many believed the hot start to the season was a fluke, this is a prime example of how the Blazers are built to contend in 2022/23.

Right now, Portland are on fire, and if they continue to take it one game at a time and see continued development from Sharpe, Nasir Little and eventually the return of Gary Payton II, this could be one of the best teams in the West throughout the year, but right now, Blazers fans need to keep enjoying the dominant start to the year.