The Wizards will quickly gather themselves to face the Portland Trail Blazers after last night’s exhausting loss in Sacramento.
The Wizards (22-38) and Blazers (27-35) sit at the ninth and tenth place in their respective divisions. Like last night, both teams are fighting for their playoff lives.
Back to backs
The Wizards are 4-5 in the second game of back to backs this season, but this one may prove harder than most. They lost in dramatic fashion to the Kings less than 24 hours ago, and they looked tired. They left it all on the floor in Sacramento to erase a 27 point deficit in just one quarter. The problem was they were running on fumes in the final quarter and couldn’t secure the win. Will fatigue be a problem? Two nights in a row in two different cities away from home can take a toll. Bradley Beal played 39 minutes last night. Will anyone else step up if he shows signs of exhaustion?
Damian Lillard returns
The Wizards arrive in Portland just in time for the Blazers’ star point guard, Damian Lillard, to make his return. Lillard missed the last six games with a groin injury, and the Blazers went 2-4 without him. Even if he’s on a minutes restriction, containing Lillard will be the Wizards’ primary focus.
In his last 14 games, Lillard has been on an absolute tear. He’s averaging 37.4 points in that span, which includes six 40 points games, three 50 point games, and a 61 point outburst (the highest individual scoring game this season). He’s making almost six three-pointers a game at a blinding 48.9% clip. The Wizards already give up the third-highest three-point field goal percentage in the league. Guarding the perimeter will be a priority.
What to watch for:
- Bradley Beal could extend his streak to 20 games with 25+ points and 10 road games with 30+
- How will Damian Lillard look after missing close to a month? Will he be on a minutes restriction?
- Rui Hachimura is averaging 16.6 points over his last three games. Can he be a continued secondary source of offense?
- Davis Bertans has made 14 threes on 65% shooting over the past two games. Can he stay hot?
Wizards: John Wall (Achilles/OUT)
Blazers: Zach Collins (Shoulder/OUT), Rodney Hood (Achilles/OUT), Damian Lillard (Groin/PROB), Jusuf Nurkic (Leg/OUT)
Money line: POR -420, WAS +285
Spread: POR -8.5(-110), WAS +8.5(-110)