Tonight the Blazers only dressed ten men tonight as both Zack Collins and Hassan Whiteside sat this one out due to injury and the 76ers were missing their leading scorer and rebounder Joel Embiid due to suspension. The Blazers seemed ready to run away with this one getting up by double digits early and pushing the lead to 21 at the end of the third quarter, but the Sixers pushed and chipped away until they took a lead late.
Anfernee Simons did his best Damian Lillard impression and knocked down a big three, but it wasn’t enough. Forkan Korkmaz returned the favor and hit a three in front of the Blazers bench with 0.4 left on the clock. The Blazers failed to make the tip and fell 129-128.
The Blazers started off hot, jumping out to a 13-5 lead behind two three-pointers from Mario Hezonja and one from Damian Lillard. Early they looked to take advantage of Embiid not being in the paint, forcing the 76ers to collapse and kicking it out for open three-pointers.
Here is where the game settled down a bit and the Blazers started rushing shots. The Sixers, mostly Ben Simmons, started attacking the basket, going on a 20-12 burst to tie the game at 25. Lillard, Anfernee Simons, and Anthony Tolliver combined to help extend the Blazers to a 7-0 run.
Toward the end of the first quarter, there was an instance where Al Horford looked like he had a wide-open layup and Simons came out of nowhere to swat the shot away. Seconds later he’d get the back and drill a deep three-pointer.
The Blazers held a 32-27 lead after the first quarter.
Simons opened up the scoring in the second with a three-pointer and a deep two to put the Blazers up seven. Furkan Korkmaz hit a couple of deep shots and Horford somehow went coast to coast to tie the game back up at 39.
Simmons came back into the game and immediately went right back after Hezonja to get another easy two. Terry Stotts moved Hood over on to Simmons after this possession and Simmons was a lot quieter for the rest of the quarter. Or course, Tobias Harris the play after the defensive change burned Mario for an easy dunk.
The teams changed baskets before the Blazers exploded on a 15-0 run to go up 60-45 with 3:17 left in the first half. Hood and Dame each had two threes in this stretch. The Blazers’ defensive intensity picked up. They had their hands on a lot of loose balls, grabbed a lot of contested rebounds. They made the Sixers lives hell at the end of the first half.
The Blazers headed into the halftime break on fire and up 68-57. Blazers shot 54% from the field in the half and 50% from three.
Hood and Lillard continued their hot shooting ways in the third quarter, forcing Brett Brown to call a timeout that did not do any good. CJ McCollum started to get hot and began to eat the Sixers alive from the top of the key. Hood added another bucket and then hit a three-pointer from somewhere up by Kelso. This pushed the Blazers up to a 21 point lead.
The Sixers started to chip away slowly as the Blazers got cold and would cut the lead down to four points in the fourth quarter. Timely threes by both Dame and Kent Bazemore kept the 76ers at arm’s length. Then Dame decided it was Dame Time and pushed the lead back up to eight.
The Sixers would not go away and cut the lead to one at 125-124. Ben Simmons knocked down two free throws to put the Sixers up one with 10.1 seconds to go. That’s when Dame drove and hit Simons in the corner right in front of the Sixers bench. Then Korkmaz did his show.
Dame led the Blazers with 33 points tonight, Hood had 25, Skal Labissiere had 15, Simons had 13, and CJ had 12. The team shot 57% from the field and 54% from three.
The Blazers head back on the road and visit the Warriors on Monday night at 7:30.
Late in the fourth quarter, Rodney Hood went down in a heap after some contact. He was taken to the locker room and did not return to the game. Currently, we do not know his status. It appeared to a leg injury.
What trust showed in Dame to give up that last shot to Simons. That is going to be a big confidence boost for the second year guard going forward.
The 12 second-half turnovers killed the Blazers. Losing a 21 point over the final 16 minutes of the game is tough.
The Blazes gave up 84 points in the paint tonight. They led the league in fewest points in the paint allowed.
Ben Simmons was 44% from the line when he made both late in the fourth to give the Sixers their first lead of the night.