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Blazers in town for Saturday night showdown
*** UPDATED Saturday ***
The Wizards return home for a Saturday night showdown with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 p.m. | NBCSW | 1500 AM | Buy Tickets
Wizards (10-8): G - Frazier, G - Beal, F - Porter Jr., F - Morris, C - Gortat
Blazers (11-8): G - Lillard, G - McCollum, F - Connaughton, F - Vonleh, C - Nurkic
Wizards: Sheldon Mac (Achilles - Out), John Wall (Knee - Out)
Blazers: Al-Farouq Aminu (Ankle - TBD)
John Wall missed Friday's practice and is now expected to miss approximately two weeks after the team announced today he will receive PRP injections to relieve inflammation in his left knee. Wall missed last Sunday's game in Toronto with left knee soreness, but then returned to play the team's next two games in Milwaukee and Charlotte. He played well on Wednesday, scoring 31 points in 41 minutes against the Hornets, but then had more discomfort in his knee, which led to an MRI on Friday.
Tim Frazier will likely start in Wall's place, while Tomas Satoransky will see an increase in playing time with Wall sidelined.
Blazers Coming Off Win in Brooklyn
The Blazers enter tonight's game fresh off a come-from-behind, 127-125, win in Brooklyn last night. They got 34 points from Damian Lillard, his sixth game this season with 30+ points, and 29p-15r from Jusuf Nurkic, who has now recorded a double-double in two straight games.
Similar to the Wizards, the Blazers get a majority of their scoring from their backcourt, with both guards averaging over 20 points per game. Lillard's shooting numbers may be down on the season, but he's had 30+ points in two straight games and has gone 10/19 from 3-point range over his last two, so he may just be heating up. C.J. McCollum enters second in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage (49.5%) and has given the Wizards problems in the past. He averaged 23 points per game in the two contests against Washington last year.
The Wizards swept the Blazers last season, scoring over 120 points in both games. The two teams will meet again in 10 days in Portland.
The Wizards are coming off one of their more frustrating losses of the season, a 129-124 overtime loss in Charlotte. They had a nine point lead with four minutes left and then a seven point lead with two minutes left, but they faltered down the stretch and let the game get away. This has now happened to them a few times during the first month of the season and Brooks emphasized this point at Friday's practice, going through end-of-game scenarios with the team. Over the course of a season, there are always a handful of games that are decided by a few plays at the end of games, so these situations must be constantly reinforced. The Wizards are shooting just 31.5 percent from the field in "clutch" time (last five minutes of a game within five points), which is 28th in the NBA. Last year, they shot it at 47 percent in those times (2nd in NBA), so by the numbers it should average out, but it's never a bad thing to hammer down late game execution in practice.
Up next, the Wizards will head back on the road for a two-game trip beginning in Minnesota on Tuesday night. (8:00 p.m.)