Final Score: Wizards 100 Trail Blazers 90 For the second straight game, the Wizards took down one of the Western Conference power houses. The Wizards held the Blazers, the highest scoring team in the NBA, to 18 points under their season average in getting the victory at Verizon Center, 100-90. The win gives the Wizards a 24-23 record, marking their first time over .500 in John Wall's career. The Wizards led by one at the half time break, thanks to a late 9-0 run, and then held the high flying Blazers to just 35 second half points. After the Wizards went up by as many as 17, the Blazers got as close as six, thanks primarily to Damian Lillard. After the Blazers got within six, Nene hit the dagger, a jumper from the high post, with 53 seconds to go after about three scoreless minutes which allowed the Blazers to get back into the game. The Wizards have now beaten the Blazers three consecutive times.
The key in this one for the Wizards was ball protection. The team had just six turnovers, the fewest number they've committed in a game this year. On the other side, the Blazers turned it over 16 times. Wall led the Wizards with 22 points on 7/15 shooting and Ariza had 20 on 7/12 shooting (4/7 from deep). Kevin Seraphin came off the bench for a pretty dominant performance, shooting 7/10 from the field for a season-high 19 points. Damian Lillard led all scorers with 25 while LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 and 10 in the loss. - Jacob Raim
It's a one point game here at Verizon Center, with the Wizards leading 56-55 at the half. It has been a close first half, with both teams playing well. Despite the Wizards lead, the Trail Blazers have been putting on a shooting clinic. LaMarcus Aldridge is 7-11 from the field with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, boosting his teams' field goal percentage to 61%, including a streak where the Trail Blazers hit 9 straight buckets. Nonetheless, the Wizards have battled hard in what was a game of runs. Trevor Ariza hit three big 3-pointers in the first half to help swing the momentum back to the Wizards and add to his total of 11 points. John Wall added 13 points and 3 assists, and in Trevor Booker's absence, Kevin Seraphin played some quality minutes, scoring 8 points. It's going to be an exciting second half here at VC! - Brad Bobrow
We're back with another Western Conference powerhouse on hand tonight as the Wizards welcome the Portland Trailblazers to Verizon Center. The Wiz have been "giant slayers" of late, with wins over the Heat, Warriors, and Thunder in the last few weeks and tonight will be another tough task with Portland in town.
The Blazers have been the surprise team of the west, already passing their win total from a year ago on Saturday night. They are tied for the second best record in the Western Conference and feature a few top-tier All-Stars on their roster. Their one-two punch of Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge are about as good a tandem as you'll find in the league. Wesley Matthews has transformed into a terrific shooting guard and is a big reason why the Blazers lead the NBA in scoring, averaging over 108 points per game. They not only score more points than any other team, but also lead the NBA in rebounds per game, averaging about 46.5 per contest.
Just as OKC came in with a highly touted offense on Saturday night, the Blazers offense is one Randy Wittman knows will score at will and he'll need another stellar performance from his defense:
On the injury front, nothing new on Al Harrington, but Trevor Booker will miss tonight's game for personal reasons.
The Wizards last nine games has seen them go W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W. They'll look to end that trend and put together a winning streak here at home this week, as tonight is the second game of their five-game home-stand.
The matchup at all five positions tonight will be intriguing, but the two that will be most closely watched will be the Wall-Lillard and Nene-Aldridge matchups. Wall, Lillard, and Aldridge will all be going to the All-Star game in two weeks, and Nene has been playing like an All-Star of late, which should make that battle really fun to watch on the post.
The Wizards will look to move over .500 again tonight, something they have failed to do in seven attempts this season.
Check out Martell Webster and Bradley Beal talk about the keys to tonight's game: