Just three days ago, Mason Plumlee confidently told the media that everything was just fine.
Apparently “going forward” included a leap over the city of Washington, DC, because the Blazers may as well have skipped this game. The Wizards hammered the Blazers from start to finish, easily winning a laugher, 120-101. The score was only that close due to a late run by the Blazers’ bench.
More will be written about this game over the next 24 hours, but it set an ominous tone for a monumental four-game Blazers road trip. They need to make up ground to be competitive in the West, but now must go 3-0 against Charlotte, Philadelphia and Boston just to avoid spinning their wheels. As our own David MacKay noted:
Update: Blazers must finish the season 26-13 (.667) to match the 2015-16 record they were expected to improve upon.— David MacKay (@DavidMacKayNBA) January 16, 2017
... and even if they did match last season’s record, that may still only be good for the eighth-best record in the much-improved Western Conference this season. There is a tough road ahead for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts did not mince words after the game.
The Blazers were technically led by Damian Lillard (22 points on 6-17 shooting), CJ McCollum (12 points on 5-12 shooting, breaking his 25-point streak) and Al-Farouq Aminu (12 points). Evan Turner (14 points) and Noah Vonleh (10 points) also reached double-digit scoring, after the game entered garbage time. Nobody is going to use this game for their long-term highlight reel.
Full game highlights via the Trail Blazers:
In-game highlights via Comcast SportsNet Northwest:
The road trip continues, Wednesday night in Charlotte. Nicolas Batum is expected to be back from injury by then. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more coverage for this game later from Blazer’s Edge.