Say it with me: Ouch. LaMarcus Aldridge injured his ankle two minutes into the game, and the Blazers never recovered, losing a home game to the woeful Washington Wizards. The red-hot Wizards (helped by the unconscious Nick Young) scored the most points for a Blazer opponent this year, including overtime games. They shot over 50% from the field and three, and scored 34 points over their average. [See Ben's post for LaMarcus updates]
Nicolas Batum shined in his return to the starting lineup, scoring 33 points. He got support from Gerald Wallace (25 points, 8 assists), Marcus Camby (13 points, 12 rebounds), and Wesley Matthews (15 points and 5 rebounds off the bench).
Early in the first quarter, LaMarcus Aldridge rolled his ankle when landing on the foot of a Wizards player, and limped to the locker room. That's really all you need to know. After his departure, the shell-shocked Blazers fell apart. The Wizards were happy to take advantage, hitting three's like crazy, and working against the Blazers' reduced interior defense. By halftime, the Blazers were down by 12 point, and the Rose Garden was stunned.
The Blazers tried to make a run to start the second half, but ran into the problem: The Wizards. Specifically, Nick Young, who redefined "hot hand", hitting three after three after three, pushing the Wiz to a 15 point lead. The Blazers were hitting shots, but the Wiz would hit shots right back. Finally, with help from Nicolas (including a memorable and-1 dunk), the Blazers cut the lead to single digits. Soon, the Blazers made Nic a focal point on offense. A wild quarter ended with a 9 point Wizards lead.
With just over a minute gone in the 4th, the Wiz lead was already 15 again. Even McGee was hitting free throws. Every time the Blazers made a run, the Wizards punched right back, knocking the lead back to 15. With 6 minutes left, the Blazers embarked on one last-ditch run to get back into the game. They cut the lead to single-digits with 5 minutes left, but could not slow down the dominant (!) Wizards. Nick Young hit yet another three to put away the Blazers with two minutes left.
The box score is here. Don't look. This is unfortunately the first game in a back-breaking back-to-back-to-back, they're the court tomorrow night in Golden State. Yeah, I know. Hang in there. -- Tim