The Rundown: Blazers lean on Simons to overcome Young’s 56-point game

Published January 4, 2022, 3:45 PMMiguel Flores

Anfernee Simons scored 43 points to lead the shorthanded Blazers past Trae Young and the Hawks.


76ers 133, Rockets 113

Wizards 124, Hornets 121

Grizzlies 118,  Nets 104

Bulls 102, Magic 98

Pistons 115, Bucks 106

Jazz 115, Pelicans 104

Mavericks 103, Nuggets 89

Trail Blazers 136, Hawks 131

Warriors 115, Heat 108

Timberwolves 122, Clippers 104

What went down

There were plenty of massive performances today, none more immense than Trae Young going off for a career-high 56 points to go with 14 assists.

Luckily for the Portland Trail Blazers, the Atlanta Hawks are not just good at setting up their superstar, they’re also pretty good at allowing opponents to shine. Portland held off the Hawks without Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum thanks to a career night from Anfernee Simons (more on him later), some Norman Powell action, and fourth-quarter heroics from Jusuf Nurkic.

The Hawks trimmed a nine-point Portland lead down to two, 129-127, with 45 seconds left. Portland shut the door on them on the following possession with a quick play for Nurkic, which turned into an and-1 opportunity.

Meanwhile, at the Bay, the Golden State Warriors had their mojo going.

With the Miami Heat breathing down their necks in the final period, Draymond Green went up for an emphatic block on Heat rookie Omar Yurtseven. With Draymond still huffing and puffing from his defensive exploits, Jordan Poole stormed to the rim for a dunk that gave the Warriors a 10-point lead with less than two minutes to go.

With Steph Curry quiet (nine points and 10 assists), Poole picked up the offense with 32 points off the bench. This might be the Warriors preparing him for his eventual role when the other Splash Bro returns.

Big-time baller

A few players had solid games today, like Joel Embiid cutting up the Houston Rockets with a 31-15-10 triple-double and Ja Morant scorching the Brooklyn Nets for 36 points and eight assists.

But no one made an impact quite like Anfernee Simons. The fourth-year guard stepped in for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and poured in 43 points on 13-for-21 shooting with seven assists.

It’s no secret that the Blazers are in limbo as a team this year. With Simons showing his scoring chops whenever he gets a start, there might still be hope for a quick turnaround, if Portland decides to move on from its current core group.

What he said

It's important to listen to our elders. Malik Monk definitely took some advice from another former Los Angeles heat check All-Star.

Luckily, Monk's only taking tattoo advice from Swaggy P. 

Did you see that?

We’ve had fun with commentator and captain Klay, but it’s about time we get NBA Klay back. Thompson held up six fingers as he left the court today after the Warriors’ shootaround. Could he be back Monday against Cleveland?

And then there was this nasty Ja Morant dunk.

Like a superhero, Morant made this look effortless. Measuring the distance between him, Durant, and the rim, Morant decided at the last second that the fastest way to score two points was also the most violent way.