Portland Trail Blazers vs. Washington Wizards: Game preview – OregonLive.com
Wizards (29-14) at Trail Blazers (31-13)
7 p.m. Saturday at Moda Center
TV on CSN (Comcast 37); radio on KPOJ (620), KKRZ (102.3)
|2||John Wall||6-4||PG||17.0 ppg, 10.0 apg|
|3||Bradley Beal||6-5||SG||14.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg|
|34||Paul Pierce||6-8||SF||12.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg|
|42||Nene||6-11||PF||11.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg|
|4||Marcin Gortat||6-11||C||12.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg|
|0||Damian Lillard||6-3||PG||22.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 6.2 apg|
|2||Wesley Matthews||6-5||SG||16.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg|
|88||Nicolas Batum||6-8||SF||9.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.6 apg|
|1||Dorell Wright||6-9||PF||3.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg|
|35||Chris Kaman||7-0||C||9.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg|
About the Wizards: The Wizards open up a four game Western Conference swing Saturday in Portland before heading to Denver Sunday to face the Nuggets. …Washington is coming off an 105-103 overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. …Nene led the Wizards with a season-high 24 points on 9-of-14 from the field…John Wall recorded 18 points, 13 assists, six rebounds and four steals, Paul Pierce posted his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds and Bradley Beal scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss. …Wall was named an Eastern Conference All-Star Game starter on Thursday and is in the midst of the best season in the league. …The fifth year guard is averaging 17 points, 10 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game and leads the NBA in total assists (432) and total steals (90) this season. …The Wizards are currently in second place in the Eastern Conference thanks in large part to their superb defense. …Washington has the sixth stingiest defense in the league allowing 99.9 points per 100 possessions. …The Wizards are 24-1 when allowig less than 100 points, including 8-0 on the road when holding opponents under the century mark. …The Wizards won their first 15 games this season when holding opponents under 100 points, the last time this happened was in 1977-78 when they won their first 17 games before ultimately winning the NBA title. …The Wizards are also one of the top rebounding teams in the leauge, grabbing 51.8 percent of availble rebounds, the fourth best rate in the NBA. …Washington is 9-6 against the Western Conference this season with wins over Houston, New Orleans and San Antonio.
About the Blazers: Portland is working through its first major struggles of the season, dropping five of its last six, including two straight after falling to the Boston Celtics on Thursday. …Injuries have hit the team hard in recent days. Prior to the game against the Celtics, the team announced LaMarcus Aldridge will miss six to eight weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb. …Early in the third quarter, Nicolas Batum re-aggravated his sprained right wrist and did not return to the game. …Down two starters, Portland struggled against the Celtics eventually losing on a last second Evan Turner three pointer. …Damian Lillard scored 21 points against Boston and Wesley Matthews added 18, including four three pointers, but the Blazers offense struggled throughout the game. …Despite the loss of key frontcourt players, the Blazers still rank as one of the top defenses in the NBA giving up 99.5 points per 100 possessions according to NBA.com, the fourth best mark in the league. …But the Blazers’ defense has slipped dramatically in the last three weeks after the team lost backup center Joel Freeland to a shoulder injury. …Playing without Freeland or starting center Robin Lopez since early January, Portland’s defense has allowed up 102.1 points per 100 possessions, tied for 14th in the league. …Without Aldridge in the lineup the last two games, opposing defenses have keyed on Lillard. …Portland’s All-Star point guard is averaging 21.5 points in this last two games, but has gone 14-for-45 from the floor. …Lillard has not shot better than 35-percent in any of his past four games. …Saturday’s meeting with the Wizards starts a tough stretch of the schedule for the Blazers, who play six of their next ten games on the road, including eight games against teams currently projected to make the playoffs.
Series history: This is the first of two meetings between the Wizards and Blazers this season. The teams split the season series a year ago with each team earning a win on its home floor. The Blazers have a slight 53-50 edge in the all-time series, including a 32-19 record in Portland.
Injuries: For Portland, Chris Kaman (leg contusion) is questionable and Nicolas Batum (right wrist sprain) is doubtful. LaMarcus Aldridge (torn ligament, left thumb), Robin Lopez (fractured right hand) and Joel Freeland (strained right shoulder) are out. The Wizards do not list anyone on their injury report.