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Wizards aim to bounce back in Portland
The Wizards look to bounce back from their biggest loss of the season when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at the Moda Center.
Moda Center | 10:00 p.m. | NBCSW/NBATV | 1500 AM
Wizards (12-11): G - Frazier, G - Beal, F - Porter Jr., F - Morris, C - Gortat
Blazers (13-10): G - Lillard, G - McCollum, F - Connaughton, F - Vonleh, C - Nurkic
Wizards: Sheldon Mac (Achilles - Out), John Wall (Knee - Out)
Wizards Aim to Bounce Back from Historic Loss
They say every loss counts the same in the standings, but the Wizards didn't just lose last night, they were embarrassed in a 116-69 rout courtesy of the Utah Jazz. It was the second largest loss in franchise history and one this team wants to quickly move on from. Both head coach Scott Brooks and the players in the locker room spoke afterwards about how they were glad they would get the chance to get right back on the court, less than 24 hours after a game they all would love to forget. There are times teams can use a game like what transpired on Monday night as a wake up call, which hopefully will result in a fired up Wizards squad tonight in Portland. Brooks said he needed to see more fight in his team, something he thought they lacked on Monday night in Utah. The Wiz fell in a big hole early and could never muster a run to get back in the game as they struggled on both sides of the floor. If there's any positive to take from last night's game, it would be that the starting unit didn't play in the fourth quarter, so they should be a little fresher on the second half of the back-to-back.
Blazers Try and Get Going at Home
After three straight road wins on the East Coast, the Blazers returned home and dropped two straight, losing their last two to the Bucks and Pelicans last week. Despite their third highest scoring game of the season and 49 bench points on Saturday, the Blazers allowed New Orleans to shoot 52% from the field and gave up 15 3-pointers in a 123-116 loss to the Pelicans. They still enter tonight's game fourth in the Western Conference at 13-10, but they know they need to protect their home floor to be a playoff team this season.
Their star backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combine for about 46 points per game and will be the two biggest threats for a Wizards team that really struggled defending the perimeter last night. The Wiz will also have to deal with Jusuf Nurkic in the paint, who has emerged as one of the West's top centers and put up 25p-11r last week against the Bucks.
Even though they gave up 123 points on Saturday, Portland has been a much improved defensive team this season, cutting their average points against by about eight points from last year.
When these two teams met 10 days ago in D.C., the Wizards led for nearly the entire night, but Portland closed the game on an 18-4 run and overcame a 17-point fourth quarter deficit to beat the Wizards, 108-105. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter combined for 50 points in the game, but it was C.J. McCollum who scored 13 of his team-high 26 points in the fourth quarter who helped fuel the comeback victory for his team. Beal has scored at least 25 points in his last three games against Portland, while Porter has recorded a double-double in his last two against the Blazers. That home loss from a week and a half ago was one this Wizards team will certainly have on their mind as they look to return the favor and beat Portland on their home floor for the second straight year.
Up next, the Wizards' road trip moves to Phoenix where they'll take on the Suns on Thursday night. (9:00 p.m.)