After an embarrassing loss to the 76ers on Saturday night, the Portland Trail Blazers looked to bounce back against the Washington Wizards. The Wiz were coming off a 119-117 loss against the Boston Celtics where John Wall missed a dazzling layup at the buzzer.
After withstanding a 40 point second quarter by the Wizards, the Blazers came out in the third with renewed energy and pushed the game out of reach. The team combined to shoot 17-30 from beyond the arc and the Wizards never had a chance in the second half.
The Blazers were led by CJ McCollum who had 25 points, including 6 threes. Mason Plumlee flirted with a triple double (10/11/7) and Meyers Leonard had one of his best games off the bench with 18 points and 4 boards. The Wizards were led by Marcin Gortat with 16 points and 13 rebounds. John Wall was held to 4 of 17 from the field and 9 points.
The Blazers came out hot, hitting six of their first seven shots perhaps trying to rid the aftertaste of the 76ers loss. The Wizards kept their signature fast pace but struggled with their shot early. A few steals and nice baskets by Nene kept them in the game early.
John Wall couldn't get anything going and the Wizards tend to struggle when Wall can't find his shot. Luckily for them the Blazers couldn't get past 19 points for more than three minutes before exploding for 13 in the final two minutes highlighted by a Meyers Leonard three at the buzzer.
End of First: Portland 32 Washington 17
The Blazers' second unit came out and made some quick baskets to start the second quarter. Gerald Henderson scored 7 and Leonard hit a few more baskets. Jared Dudley hit a pair of threes for the Wizards and Nene continued a good stretch against the Blazers' interior. McCollum hit a 3 to push the lead to 44-30 with 8 minutes left.
After a timeout, the Wizards started heating up. John Wall checked back in and the Wizards moved the ball around and couldn't seem to miss. Penetration by Wall and Gary Neal picked apart the Blazer defense and Marcin Gortat (the Polish Hammer) made some big shots. The Wizards finished 17 for 21 in the quarter with 13 assists.
McCollum led the Blazers with 11 points in the first half while Leonard chipped in 10. Gortat paced the Wizards with 13 and 6 rebounds. Wall made up for some shooting trouble with six assists.
Halftime: Portland 59 Washington 57
The Wizards took a brief lead but the Blazers battled back in dominating fashion. Defensively, they held the Wizards to contested jumpers that didn't continue to fall like in the second quarter. On the other end, McCollum and Lillard picked the Wizards apart. Back to back threes by McCollum pushed the lead to 18. Perhaps inspired by the Wizards' play from the second quarter, the Blazers had some of their best ball movement of the season leading to open looks.
Bradley Beal made a few plays to close the lead to 14 but the Wizards inexplicably left Leonard open at the three point line and he made them pay. The Blazers hit seven threes in the quarter and outscored the Wiz 35-19 to enter the fourth with the game firmly in command.
End of Third: Portland 94, Washington 76
The Blazers continued moving the ball well and the Wizards never came closer than 10. The Blazers celebrated a big bounce-back victory to finish the short road trip 2-1.
The Blazers have a day off before hosting the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday at 7:30. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge today for extended analysis of this game from Dave Deckard.