Anfernee Simons exploded in the first half of the Portland Trail Blazers’ game against the Utah Jazz on Friday. In the process, he made franchise history that not even Damian Lillard has been able to achieve.

The 23-year-old Simons scored 33 points for Portland in the first two quarters of play, setting the record for most points in a first half of a regular season game in Blazers history. He was 12-of-17 from the field over that period, including 7-of-11 from the 3-point line.

To put his performance in a better perspective, only Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid have scored more in a half this season, and both players are considered MVP candidates this 2022-23.

With Damian Lillard still sidelined due to a calf strain he sustained last November, Anfernee Simons has been carrying much of the load on the offensive end for the Blazers. And clearly, he’s doing a great job at it.

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Prior to Saturday’s contest against the Jazz, Simons is averaging 23.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. In the past six games without Lillard, though, the youngster has put up 26.8 points and 5.7 assists on 45.2 percent shooting from the field and 39.4 percent from three.

It remains to be seen if Simons can maintain his incredible scoring streak to keep Portland afloat while Lillard is out, but it’s definitely an encouraging sign to see him record big games like he did Saturday. Simons has shown an amazing growth so far in his career, giving Portland tons of hope for the present and future.