Simons scores 31 to lead Trail Blazers over Wizards, 115-110
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By RICH DUBROFF
WASHINGTON (AP) Anfernee Simons scored 31 points and tied a career high with 11 assists, Jusuf Nurkic had 23 points and 14 rebounds and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Washington Wizards 115-110 on Saturday night.
Washington (22-21) had its three-game winning streak snapped despite Spencer Dinwiddie's 27 points. Kyle Kuzma added 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Simons, who missed Thursday's loss at Denver to attend his grandfather's funeral, had 26 points in the first half, including seven 3-pointers.
"I'm not the most emotional person in the world," Simons said. He said he's trying to help his grieving family.
"The hardest part has been being strong for them," he added, "and coming out here and playing well to put a smile on their face to make them feel better is always good, too."
Nassir Little had 18 points and Robert Covington added 15 for Portland (17-25). The Trail Blazers led by 16 with 6:55 to play, but Washington cut the lead to 112-108 on Dinwiddie's 3-pointer with 27 seconds left.
The Wizards played without leading scorer Bradley Beal for the third straight game, as well as coach Wes Unseld Jr., who are both in health and safety protocols. Assistant Pat Delany replaced Unseld.
"Simons, we talked about all morning how we'll he'd been playing," Delany said. "He got in a rhythm. He got comfortable. Things that we don't do defensively, honestly. Too many wasted possessions for us, and he made us pay for them."
Trail Blazers: G CJ McCollum, who hasn't played since Dec. 4 due to a collapsed lung, is scheduled to return to the lineup on Monday, coach Chauncey Billups said. "He's starting for sure," Billups said. "Knowing CJ, he's not going to want a minutes restriction. . F Larry Nance Jr., who has missed five games with right knee inflammation, shot before the game for the first time since his injury. . G Norman Powell, who's missed four games in the health and safety, is reconditioning. . C Cody Zeller, who has a right knee injury, is seeking multiple opinions, Billups said. . C Trendon Watford fouled out in just eight minutes. Nurkic also fouled out.
Wizards: F Davis Bertans missed his second straight game with a sprained foot. .Delany said he's looking forward to Unseld returning as soon as Monday. "I'll be the first one to hug him and welcome him back." . Lost for the fifth straight time at home to Portland.
Delany may be one of the few NBA coaches with a LinkedIn account. It simply lists his NBA assistant coaching positions with Charlotte, Orlando and the Wizards. He has over 500 connections.
"I don't know if I've actually logged on to it or been on it in a long time," Delany said. "Over the last 24 or 36 hours, I've gotten a lot of invitations. I didn't figure out why that was - until this moment . I don't know how or why I ever joined, but obviously I'm there. I'll try to accept everybody."
Billups interviewed Delany for an assistant coaching position with Portland last summer.
"I've heard so many great things about him from people I trust in the business," Billups said. "I didn't spend a lot of time with him, but he checked a lot of boxes."
Portland won for just the third time this season on the road. They're 3-14 away from home.
"It's definitely important," Nurkic said. "Do the right thing. Put yourself in position to win the game. We did it tonight. A little drama at the end."
Trail Blazers: Visit Orlando Magic on Monday
Wizards: Host Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.
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Updated January 15, 2022