LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Arron Afflalo had 15 points, but the Portland Trail Blazers could not complete a massive rally in Washington, falling to the Wizards, 105-97 Monday night at the Verizon Center.
The recent hot shooting for the Blazers cooled off in the first quarter, as Portland shot just 35% in the period. Washington on the other hand shot 60%, with the majority of them coming from post-ups by Marcin Gortat or driving shots by John Wall. The Blazers struggled to hit shots from the outside. Only interior scoring by Aldridge and Chris Kaman kept the game close. Both players had six to lead Portland, who trailed by seven after one.
Everything went wrong for the Blazers in the second quarter. Outside of Kaman, the bench shot 0-for-9 in the half. Behind some quick scoring by Robin Lopez and Nicolas Batum, Portland got as close as nine in the quarter after Washington extended the lead to 18. However, Bradley Beal got to the free throw line for a three-point play attempt and missed the free throw, only to grab it and hit a three. In the blink of an eye, the Wizards went on a 13-2 run and got their lead out to 20 at halftime. Damian Lillard and Aldridge combined for two points in the quarter, Batum led all Blazers with six.
When Washington got the lead out to 25 in the third quarter, Afflalo decided enough was enough. Afflalo scored ten points in under four minutes, and the rest of the Blazers followed his lead to get back into the game. After shooting 2-of-15 from three in the first half, the Blazers shot 5-of-6 in the third quarter to cut the lead to as little as seven. The Wizards led 81-74 after three.
Kaman and CJ McCollum went to work in the fourth, cutting the lead to three. Beal responded for Washington, and the teams traded baskets back and forth. Portland had a chance to get the lead to two, but a pair of missed goaltending calls allowed Washington to get back up to nine. Coach Terry Stotts received a technical foul, giving Washington a 10 point lead. Lillard and Aldridge tried one last time, but the rally fell just short.
Kaman led the bench scoring with 12. Batum had 12 points and 15 rebounds. Lillard had 14 points and 9 assists. One night after allowing a 7-of-7 shooting night from Jonas Valanciunas, Gortat shot 8-of-10 for 16 points.
Lot of heart showed tonight especially on a back to back. Bounce back in Miami #ripcity— Wesley Matthews (@wessywes2) March 17, 2015
The Blazers are now 15-15 when trailing by double-digits at any point in the game. They had a WINNING RECORD coming into the game.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) March 17, 2015
"We dug ourselves a hole and it ended up being a grave." -- Chris Kaman— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) March 17, 2015