Portland Trail Blazers (11-7) at Washington Wizards (10-8)
Saturday, November 25nd - 4:00 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Al-Farouq Aminu (out)
Wizards injuries: John Wall (questionable), Sheldon Mack (out)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Bullets Forever
After a 2-1 start to their five game road trip that saw them get dominated in Philadelphia before squeaking out a win against the Brooklyn Nets, the Portland Trail Blazers head to the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Wizards on the second night of a back-to-back.
What to Watch For
- Is John Wall going to play? Wall had an MRI done on his left knee this week, with the results pending. While Wizards fans are hoping it’s nothing serious, Wall could either be lacking his usual explosive speed or miss today’s contest entirely.
UPDATE: John Wall is out for two weeks, including today’s game.
Wizards announce John Wall out two weeks (left knee).— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) November 25, 2017
- Will the real Washington Wizards please stand up? Many pundits looked to the Wizards as a team to make the leap after a promising season last year. So far the results have been mixed. Washington opened the season 3-0 before dropping four of five games. They then got back on track and won five of six games before turning around and losing three of their last four.
- Can the Blazers stop Bradley Beal? After showing potential for several seasons, Bradly Beal has broken through from being very good to legitimately great; averaging 24 points a night this season. The knock against Beal has always been his penchant for long, inefficient two-pointers, but those days are long gone; with Beal having learned to limit these looks over the last several years - all while improving his overall offensive game.
What They’re Saying
Gene Wang of the Washington Post wrote about Washington’s disappointment with their play of late.
The all-star point guard had scored 31 points, but that season-high total became an afterthought given the disheartening conclusion of a three-game road trip in which Washington managed one win.
The swoon compelled Wall to assess this latest stretch thusly: “It’s terrible.”
The raw emotion stemmed in large part with the way the Wizards wilted in the final minutes of the fourth quarter against a team they had beaten in seven of the past 10 meetings. Washington held a 111-102 lead with 3:32 left in regulation, but defensive breakdowns doomed them.
“The fault was defensively giving up offensive rebounds and those 50-50 balls with the last two minutes, you have to beat those guys to get those,” Wall said. “That’s where they won the game.”
Jack Maloney from CBS Sports wrote about how Otto Porter is proving his value in Washington after signing a massive contract.
He's scoring more than Al Horford, grabbing more rebounds than Kevin Durant, shooting the 3-pointer better than Stephen Curry and he's swiping more steals than Avery Bradley.
That all makes Otto Porter Jr., the Washington Wizards' fifth-year forward, one of the most underrated and versatile players in the NBA. Fresh off of signing a four-year, $106M max contract, Porter is having the best season of his career, and proving to be worth every damn dollar. Through 17 games, he's averaging 15.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game, while shooting a ridiculous 47 percent from 3-point land.
Yet as smooth as this season has been, however, the offseason was as tumultuous for the lanky 6-8 forward. Despite meeting with the Wizards minutes after free agency officially began, he didn't sign with the team until nearly two weeks later -- and that was after signing an offer sheet from the Nets first. Plus, before the Pacers shipped Paul George to the Thunder, there were rumors that the Wizards and Pacers had interest in a potential sign-and-trade deal involving George and Porter.
"A lot of people said he shouldn't get paid for his contract," Wizards star John Wall said after Monday's 99-88 road victory vs. the Bucks. "And all you can do is play and try to prove people wrong. I think that's the same thing he's doing that me and Bradley Beal) did when we got paid. He's having a heck of a start to this season. He's one of our X factors that gets us going."
Christopher Church at the Baltimore Wire laid into the Wizards’ underwhelming bench.
According to Hoopsstats.com, the Wizards bench holds a -6.2 efficiency recap difference (deff), which ranks No. 24 among NBA benches entering Friday’s slate of NBA games.
Consequently, the Wizards bench ranks near the bottom of other NBA statistical categories including:
- 23rd in NBA efficiency recap (33.8)
- 22nd in minutes (16.9)
- 21st in points (30.8)
- 24th in rebounds (14.6)
- 26th in assists (5.8)
- 20th in steals (2.7)
- 27th in blocks (1.2)
- 10th in personal fouls (9.8)
Evidently, the Wizards second team of Frazier, Jodie Meeks, Kelly Oubre Jr., Mike Scott and Ian Mahinmi has not generated much production thus far this season. However, the Wizards backup center Ian Mahinmi is arguably the biggest reason for the bench struggles thus far in 2017.