Anfernee Simons spoiled Damian Lillard’s return to Portland with a go-ahead floater with 17.1 seconds remaining to lift the Trail Blazers to a 119-116 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.
Lillard had 25 points on 9-of-23 shooting – 3 of 13 from 3-point range – with seven assists, six rebounds and four turnovers in his first game back in Portland since he was traded to Milwaukee in September.
He was the face of the Blazers’ franchise for his first 11 seasons in the NBA and was treated to a lengthy ovation before the game and tributes played on the video scoreboard during timeouts.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and eight rebounds and Khris Middleton added 21 and eight assists as the Bucks lost their second straight under new coach Doc Rivers.
Simons finished with 24 points and Deandre Ayton had 20 and 11 rebounds for the Blazers, who won their second straight to close a three-game homestand.
That was fun :) pic.twitter.com/baYWy3gXes— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) February 1, 2024
Durant leads Suns past Nets in return
Kevin Durant poured in 33 points in his return to Brooklyn and Jusuf Nurkic had 28 with 11 rebounds to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 136-120 win over the Nets.
Durant shot 10 of 16 from the field and added eight assists in his first game in Brooklyn since being traded to Phoenix nearly a year ago.
Devin Booker scored 22 points and Eric Gordon added 17 for the Suns, who won for the ninth time in 11 games.
Cam Thomas scored 25 points and Mikal Bridges, who came to Brooklyn in the Durant trade, had 21 as the Nets failed to win three straight for the first time since early December.
Mitchell’s big night keeps Cavaliers hot
Donovan Mitchell scored 20 of his 45 points in the fourth quarter and Darius Garland had 19 in his return from a broken jaw as the Cleveland Cavaliers held off the lowly Detroit Pistons, 128-121.
Jarrett Allen had 14 points and 11 rebounds for his franchise-record 16th straight double-double to help the Cavaliers win for the 11th time in 12 games and improve to an NBA-best 16-4 since Dec. 16.
Danilo Galliari scored 20 points and Cade Cunningham added 19 and seven assists for Detroit, which was seeking consecutive wins for the first time since Oct. 27-28.Garland was 7 of 12 from the field in 20 ½ minutes in his first action after missing 19 games. He sustained the injury in a collision with Boston’s Kristaps Porzingis on Dec. 14.