The Portland Trail Blazers had a party in Indiana.
After battling for the first 18 minutes of the game, which witnessed all of the game's seven ties and eight lead changes, the visitors took off and never looked back. Eventually winning 133-112, Portland led by as many as 43, avenging a 24-point loss it suffered at the hands of the Pacers at home back in January.
The Trail Blazers opened this game up in the third quarter when they outscored the hosts 40-16. This loss snaps the Pacers' three-game winning streak, who were playing this one without All-Star Domantas Sabonis.
They were plenty of reasons to celebrate for Portland and here are the three key ones.
Over the past month, the franchise superstar hasn't looked at his best and recently, has been forced to sit out games with a hamstring niggle. However, it's just a bump in the road considering his body of work.
In this game, just over a week after climbing to 10th on the all-time 3-pointers made list, Lillard knocked down his 2,000th career 3-pointer.
Run it up pic.twitter.com/8E8uFGwxHw- Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 28, 2021
He joins the likes of Ray Allen, Stephen Curry, Reggie Miller, Kyle Korver, James Harden, Vince Carter, Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford and Paul Pierce (in that order) to knock down 2,000 career treys.
He finished with 23 points and a team-high six assists in a relatively light 31 minutes of action in what was his 10th straight game of failing to reach the 30-point mark, his longest of such streak this season.
Simons' NBA record 3-point barrage
Seven players finished in double figures for the Trail Blazers but the star of the game was reserve guard Anfernee Simons.
The reigning Dunk Contest Champion was showing off his range in this one, scoring a game-high 27, all from beyond the arc as he set a franchise record by making his first nine 3-pointers.
At the final horn, the shooting wasn't all of it. He finished the game with 27 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a game-high plus-minus of +42.
Anfernee Simons (career-high 9 made threes on 10 attempts) opened 9-9 from three tonight, becoming the first player to do so since Klay Thompson on Jan. 21, 2019 (opened 10-10). @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/bNBhmA1y4w- NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) April 28, 2021
Despite averaging fewer minutes than last season, Simons provides the team with a great sharpshooting threat off the bench as he's knocking down his 3-pointers at a career-high mark of 44.4 percent.
Much-needed victory for Portland
It's been a very rough April for the Trail Blazers. Prior to this one, the Portland franchise had gone 3-10 this month. This win snaps its five-game losing streak, suffering all those defeats by single digits for a merely combined margin of 17 points.
More importantly, despite their recent skid, this victory comes in the team's first contest of a competitive six-game road trip with stops in Memphis (second night of back-to-back), Brooklyn, Boston and Atlanta.
The icing on the cake is how the blowout win helped their key rotation players have a light night. Other than Damian Lillard (32) and Robert Covington (30), no Trail Blazers logged more than 25 minutes in this one.
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