INDIANAPOLIS — Anfernee Simons delivered the knockout flurry for Portland on Tuesday.
His teammates and coaches enjoyed watching it.
Simons made his first nine 3-pointers, finished with 27 points and helped the Portland Trail Blazers snap a season-high, five-game losing streak with a 133-112 rout at Indiana.
“After the first 3 I made in the second half, I knew it was going to be a good night for me,” Simons said. “After that, I felt like it didn’t matter who was contesting or how close they were, I knew it was going to go in.”
They did — time after time.
Simons fell two 3s short of Damian Lillard’s franchise record and became the first NBA player to open a game with nine consecutive 3s since Klay Thompson made 10 straight on Jan. 21, 2019. Simons wound up 9 of 10 from beyond the arc and 9 of 13 overall.
How good was he?
“The man of the hour, talk to him,” Lillard said when Simons showed up for his postgame Zoom call. “Nine 3s.”
Lillard added 23 points and the Blazers shot a season-best 57.1% from beyond the arc.
Malcolm Brogdon and Oshae Brissett each finished with 18 points for the short-handed Pacers, who had a three-game winning streak end.
With the Trail Blazers going 20 of 35 from 3-point range, Indiana never really had a chance.
Portland broke open the game in the second quarter by taking advantage of a 13-5 discrepancy in offensive rebounds and, of course-, the long-range shooting.
The second of Lillard’s four 3s broke a 50-all tie and spurred 21-5 run that gave the Trail Blazers a 71-55 lead late in the first half. A flagrant foul against CJ McCollum in the final minute allowed the Pacers to claw their way back within 11 and a technical foul on Lillard after the first half ended got Indiana within 73-63 before the start of the second half.
But Portland prevented the Pacers from making a serious challenge and used its second 3-point barrage to close the third quarter with a 113-78 lead.
“It was the 3s and the obvious one was Simons out there and Lillard and McCollum out there,” Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren said. “We needed to do a better job of contesting there. The glass got away from us, too, but the game really got away from us on the arc.”
Trail Blazers: McCollum had 20 points and four assists. Lillard had six assists. … Robert Covington finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, Enes Kantner had 12 points and 14 rebounds. Jusuf Nurkic had 11 points and 10 rebounds. … Carmelo Anthony scored 13 points. … Portland has 10 games this season with 20 or more 3s.
Pacers: Brissett also had 10 rebounds, his third double-double signing a three-year contract with Indiana. … Caris LeVert finished with 16 points and Doug McDermott had 13. … Indiana went 10 of 30 on 3s and was outrebounded 57-37. … Indiana was missing five players: Domantas Sabonis (back), Myles Turner (right foot), T.J. Warren (left foot) as well as backups Goga Bitadze (left ankle) and Jeremy Lamb (left knee).
Lillard reached his own milestone — against a foe he has dominated in recent years. The four 3s gave him 2,000 in his career, making him the second-fastest player in league history to hit that mark. Stephen Curry needed 597 games. It took Lillard 670.
ANOTHER STREAK ENDS
Indiana fell to 11-18 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season and with only seven home games remaining, the Pacers’ 31-year streak with a winning record at home ended. It was the longest active streak in the NBA, and tied for the third-longest in league history.
Trail Blazers will try to avoid a three-game sweep at Memphis on Wednesday.