Story By: Sol Tucker
Photos By: Sol Tucker
There are not many times in a game where you pin a team down early and still end up losing the game. This is exactly what happened to the Wizards tonight as they jumped out early on the Blazers and opened a 20-point lead, only to have the Blazers come all the way back in the second half and grab a 124-116 victory.
Portland just got all of the shots by Anferne Simons to fall when they needed them to. He lead all Blazers scorers with 33 points.
Damien Lillard as he has done in so many games over his career found the open guys when he needed to and was able to drive to the basket quite a few times in the fourth quarter uncontested.
“Our team is just so much better when our backs are against the wall,” Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said. “I’ve been on teams like that before, so I understand it, but it’s a dangerous place to live.”
Bradley Beal scored 34 points and helped the Wizards stay in contention right up to the end as he has done in so many games over his career. It was just not enough tonight in the final two minutes.
Washington led 69-51 at halftime, but an advantage like that isn’t totally safe against a backcourt that can shoot 3s like Portland’s. After a layup by Josh Hart to start the third quarter, the Trail Blazers’ next nine field goals came from long distance. The first five were by Simons, then Lillard made a couple and Jerami Grant hit one.
If the Wizards are going to make things happen after the All-Star break, they are going to have to find a combo off the bench that works. They got absolutely no production from Deni Advija, who finished 0-11 combined on the night. Their bench basically wasted a solid effort by Kuz, Beal and Porzingis, who finished with yet another 30 plus point game with no winning results to show for it,
After the game, Wizards fans were treated to a post-game concert by Ja Rule and Rick Ross.