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PORTLAND, OREGON – Anfernee Simons #1 of the Portland Trail Blazers warms up prior to a game against the Charlotte Hornets at Moda Center on December 17, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo : Soobum Im/Getty Images)
The Portland Trail Blazers extended their winning streak to two games with a 114-108 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, January 10. Anfernee Simons continued his fine play, registering a double-double for the Blazers, who jumped to 10th place in the Western Conference standings with a 16-24 record.
Simons and Covington lead the way for Portland
Simons scored 23 points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished out 11 assists in 38 minutes of action. Simons did not do it all by himself as the four other Portland starters also scored in double figures. Robert Covington had his best game of the season in a Blazers uniform, recording 21 points, four rebounds, one assist, three steals, and three blocks against the Nets.
Ben McLemore scored 20 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the field. He was deadly from beyond the arc, knocking down five of his eight 3-point attempts. Jusuf Nurkic and Nassir Little also contributed to the Blazers, adding 14 and 13 points, respectively. Nurkic also had eight rebounds and three assists, while Little recorded five rebounds, two assists, one steal, and three blocked shots.
The Blazers needed every bit of their fine play as they were without several key players in this contest. Portland was without the backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who was suffering from lower abdominal tendinopathy and a collapsed lung, respectively. Norman Powell was also out after being placed on the league’s health and safety protocols, while Larry Nance Jr. was sidelined because of a right knee injury.
Harden sidelined because of a knee injury
The Blazers continued their solid form at home and improved their record at Moda Center to 14-11 this season. They took full advantage of facing a Brooklyn team that was without James Harden.
Head coach Steve Nash said that the Nets were being cautious with their usage of Harden, but the former MVP should be good to go for their game against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, January 12. Harden has been dealing with a hyperextended left knee.
The Nets still had a formidable lineup in Portland with Kyrie Irving back in their roster. He started for the second time this season, finishing with 22 points against the Blazers. Kevin Durant was his usual dominant self for the Nets, racking up 28 points and 10 rebounds. He has now scored 20 points in each of his last 19 games, the second-longest streak of 20-point games in the history of the Nets franchise.
That still was not enough to defeat the Blazers, who went berserk in the third quarter. Portland outscored Brooklyn, 32-19, during that period, turning a seven-point halftime deficit into a six-point lead for the Blazers entering the final quarter. They survived a late charge by the Nets to win for the third time in the last five games.
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