Wizards wrap up road trip Wednesday against Blazers
Wednesday night, the Wizards (22-38) will take on the Blazers (27-35) at 10:00 P.M. at the Moda Center in the second game of a back-to-back and the last outing of a four-game road trip. Washington is coming off a close loss last night to the Kings, while Portland is coming off a 23-point win over the Magic on Monday night.
Moda Center | 10:00 P.M. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Shabazz Napier, G – Bradley Beal, G – Jerome Robinson, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Moritz Wagner
Trail Blazers: G – Damian Lillard, G – CJ McCollum, F – Trevor Ariza, F – Carmelo Anthony, C – Hassan Whiteside
Wizards: Thomas Bryant (right foot injury management – out), Ish Smith (left hamstring tightness – out), John Wall (left Achilles rehab – out)
Trail Blazers: Zach Collins (left shoulder dislocation – out), Rodney Hood (left Achilles tendon rupture – out), Damian Lillard (right groin strain – available), Jusuf Nurkic (left leg fracture – out)
Bertans coming off his best two-game shooting run of the season
Like most great shooters in the NBA, Davis Bertans’s highlight reel moments come in spurts. On multiple occasions, he has connected from beyond the arc two and three possessions in a row, burying opponents or erasing their leads faster than they can adjust, galvanizing a home crowd or hushing one on the road. And like those in-game streaks that feed off made shots on possessions prior, great shooters’ game-by-game performances can feed into one another, fueling multi-game hot streaks that can change the landscape of an entire offense. Bertans has had a number of those multi-game moments this season: four straight games with four-plus made threes in mid-November and a run of five games in early December in which he averaged 6.0 made threes and 23.7 points per game. Bertans may be in the middle of another one of those moments. After Tuesday night’s game in Sacramento, in which he hit 6-12 (.500) from deep, Bertans has now hit at least at least four 3-pointers in four of his last five games, including 14 in last two games combined.
Bertans’s high-volume, high-efficiency shooting will have a chance to continue against Portland on Wednesday night. This season, the Blazers rank sixth in both opponent 3-point attempts per game (34.8) and opponent 3-point percentage (37.3%).
Robinson proving his worth as workload increases
On Tuesday night against Sacramento, Jerome Robinson played 30 minutes, the most action he’s seen in a Wizards uniform this season. Acquired at last month’s trade deadline, Robinson has seen his inclusion in the rotation steadily growing over the last few weeks and has now played at least 20 minutes in each of the last four games. Against the Kings, Robinson scored 10 points, the most he’s scored since joining the Wizards, including a 3-pointer near the end of Washington’s 27-point comeback in the third quarter. And while his shooting has drawn attention, most notably his game-winner last week against Brooklyn, the Wizards are most excited about what he brings on the defensive end.
“(Robinson) wants to defend,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said after Tuesday’s game. “He’s getting better – he’s getting better every day. I thought his defense in the third quarter changed the game around. He deserves to play more – he’s going to play more as we move forward also.”
On Wednesday, Robinson will make his first start since joining the Wizards.
Lillard to return from six-game absence against Wizards
Damian Lillard, who has missed all six of Portland’s post-All-Star break games with a groin injury, will make his return Wednesday against the Wizards. The All-NBA guard, responsible for two of the league’s three 60-point games this season, is averaging 29.5 points and 7.9 assists per game, leading a Blazers offense that ranks top-10 in offensive rating (111.6). In his first game against the Wizards this season, Lillard scored 35 points on 10-20 (.500) from the field and 13-14 (.929) from the free throw line.
In Lillard’s absence, CJ McCollum picked up the slack on the offensive end for the Blazers, averaging 33.3 points, 8.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. In Portland’s most recent outing, a 23-point win over Orlando on Monday night, McCollum totaled 41 points, five rebounds and five assists, his second 40-point game in the six-game stretch without Lillard.