The Blazers confirm their status as the hottest team in the entire league. Thanks to his pair Damian Lillard (31 points and 8 assists) – Anfernee Simons (29 points), Portland recorded a fourth victory in a row, at the expense of the Nuggets (135-110) who had yet seemed in control in the first period.
With a very aggressive and active Aaron Gordon close to the circle, as well as the outside address of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., the Nuggets quickly took a ten-point lead. This gap was maintained in the second quarter thanks to the remarkable entrance of Bones Hyland, very inspired behind the 3-point line as well as the pass to find DeAndre Jordan under the circle.
After a new dunk from Gordon, Denver offered the most advantage in its favor of the match (40-53), in the second quarter. But the visitors badly negotiated the end of this first period, marked by the activity of Damian Lillard. After a big winning shot, he chained several penetrations and found his pivot, Jusuf Nurkic, on the “pick-and-roll”.
Denver thus only led by two possessions at the break (55-61). The momentum had started to change sides and this impression was confirmed in the following minutes because Anfernee Simons will literally catch fire in the third act. With his crazy exterior address, Portland scored 44 points in those 12 minutes, with a favorable differential of 19 units (44-25).
Led by 13 points (99-86) at the start of the last period, the Nuggets were unable to react because Portland continued to widen the gap, ending the second period, won by… 31 points, with 80 points registered!
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– The Anfernee Simons Festival. It makes you wonder what would have happened if Chauncey Billups hadn’t called him back to his bench, unlike Damian Lillard for that matter, at the end of the third quarter… “Step-back”, “ catch-and-shoot” after screen or shot out of dribble… The back of the Blazers signed an exceptional streak of address finished with 22 points and six baskets from 3-pointers in the same period. He rocked the meeting almost single-handedly and set fire to the Moda Center.
– Portland #1 in the league! After a victory against the Kings, then two very short successes against the Suns and the Lakers, the Blazers continue with a fourth victory in a row, against the Nuggets. This record of 4-0 at the start of the season is unheard of since… the 1999-2000 financial year. The year when the Blazers had signed one of the best seasons in their history (59 wins) and finished at the gates of the NBA Finals. While waiting to find out what happens next, Portland now has the best record in the league.
✅ Damian Lillard. If his friend at the back was the spark in the third quarter, the leader of the Blazers signed a very high quality game overall. He was able to vary between playing on the periphery and attacking the circle, while feeding his partners with a minimum of waste.
✅ Aaron Gordon. When he abandons the outside shot and is aggressive towards the circle, he becomes another player. Perfect illustration with this very accomplished match. Jamal Murray awkward and Nikola Jokic embarrassed by faults, he was one of the few Nuggets to float.
⛔ Nikola Jokic. The small outing of the Serbian leader is explained by his worries about mistakes. The pivot was penalized for a fourth time with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. He thus had to settle for 27 minutes of play. Sufficient despite everything to get closer to a third triple-double in a row, even if the interior could (should?) have imitated the Gordon – Porter – Murray trio by attempting his chance on shots at least ten times.
Blazers (4-0) : reception of the Heat, Wednesday.
Nuggets (2-2) : reception of the Lakers, Wednesday.