Blazers rally from 20 down to end Wizards’ win streak
WASHINGTON (AP) — Anfernee Simons scored 20 of his 33 points in the third quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers erased a 20-point deficit, snapping Washington’s six-game winning streak Friday night with a 124-116 victory over the Wizards.
Simons made six of Portland’s nine 3-pointers in the third, and the Trail Blazers finally caught and passed the Wizards in the fourth. Simons finished 9 of 12 from beyond the arc.
Damian Lillard added 29 points for Portland, which has won five of six.
“Our team is just so much better when our backs are against the wall,” Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said. “I’ve been on teams like that before, so I understand it, but it’s a dangerous place to live.”
Bradley Beal scored 34 points for the Wizards, and Kristaps Porzingis had 32.
Washington led 69-51 at halftime, but an advantage like that isn’t totally safe against a backcourt that can shoot 3s like Portland’s. After a layup by Josh Hart to start the third quarter, the Trail Blazers’ next nine field goals came from long distance. The first five were by Simons, then Lillard made a couple and Jerami Grant hit one.
Another 3 by Simons cut the deficit to 88-81.
“We ran plays for him. We started off the third quarter kind of running his play,” Billups said. “He came off and got a couple looks, and then I thought Dame and Josh and those guys, they all just did a really good job of continuing to keep the ball in his hands.”
It was 94-90 after three, and Portland finally tied it at 99 on a 3 by Shaedon Sharpe. A 3 by Hart gave the Trail Blazers their first lead, 102-101. Portland was up by two before breaking the game open with a 13-4 run. A dunk by Simons made it 120-111 with 1:25 to play.
Portland played without center Jusuf Nurkic, sidelined because of a left calf strain. He’s expected back after the All-Star break.
The Wizards jumped out to an early 15-2 lead, and they led 34-14 after a 3-pointer by Porzingis. He scored 16 points in the opening quarter.
Hart and Trendon Watford scored 21 points apiece for Portland.
Watford’s point total was a season high. He hadn’t been playing much before this past week. This was his first time scoring in double figures since Dec. 16.
“Staying ready, that’s my job,” Watford said. “I think that’s where a lot of young players mess up — just not being ready when the opportunity comes.”
Trail Blazers: In addition to Nurkic, Portland was also without F Justise Winslow (left ankle sprain) and C Ibou Badji (left knee soreness). … Portland outscored Memphis 38-22 in the fourth quarter in a win Wednesday night. Then the Trail Blazers outscored the Wizards 34-22 in the fourth and 73-47 in the second half.
Wizards: F Anthony Gill (health and safety protocols) missed the game. … The Wizards haven’t won seven straight since an eight-game streak in April 2021.
Trail Blazers: At Chicago on Saturday.
Wizards: At Brooklyn on Saturday.
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