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Blazers guards Damian Lillard (calf), Anfernee Simons (foot) return against Heat

Portland's strong start got a boost from the return of its starting backcourt.

Damian Lillard handles the ball the Miami Heat on Nov. 7, 2022.

The Blazers had continued their strong start to the season despite Damian Lillard’s absence due to a calf strain.

Lillard returned Monday to help them continue it.

The six-time All-Star, fresh off four games on the injury report, scored 19 points and dished out the game-winning assist to Josh Hart’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer at Miami.

Anfernee Simons, who has also been out two games with a foot injury, was also back for Portland to restore the Blazers’ starting backcourt. Simons led the team with 25 points in the 110-107 victory.

Portland is now 7-3, tied with Phoenix for second place in the Western Conference. Lillard (29.0 ppg) and Simons (22.4 ppg) are the top scorers for the Blazers, who are looking to return to the playoffs after missing them last season for the first time since 2012-12.