The Portland Trail Blazers lost in controversial fashion Saturday, falling at home in a 125-124 overtime thriller to the Washington Wizards despite a blown call on the game-winning shot by Markieff Morris.
The result overshadows a tremendous offensive display from the starting backcourts of both squads, who combined for 132 points in the contest that featured four of the best guards in the league.
The Blazers were led by C.J. McCollum (34 points, 6 assists), Damian Lillard (33 points, 7 assists) and Maurice Harkless (15 points, 5 rebounds). Jusuf Nurkic struggled through foul trouble for most of the game and finished with 7 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks.
The Wizards were led by John Wall (39 points, 9 assists) and Bradley Beal (26 points, 6 assists).
After a sluggish start where Washington jumped out to an early 9-2 lead, bringing back memories of January’s beatdown in D.C., the Blazers recovered and rode some red hot shooting on its way to one of the best offensive halves of this season. Portland put up 70 on the Wiz shooting a blistering 65% from the field and largely behind an unconscious shooting display from C.J. McCollum, who scored 25 points, including four threes on just 12 shots.
McCollum was brilliant, getting his shot to fall from all over the floor and at times with the full attention of the Washington defense, mixing in running floaters, mid-range fadeaways and his deadly outside jumper. One of his treys gave Portland a double-digit lead at 45-33 early in the second quarter, and another just before the halftime buzzer extended the advantage all the way to 21.
“Nurkic Fever” was mostly curbed out of the gates with three early fouls, holding the Bosnian giant to just 3 points. Damian Lillard eventually found himself on the bench along with him after picking his third foul guarding John Wall, who shot 10 of the Wizards’ 20 free throws in the half.
The Blazers also got a nice shift from Maurice Harkless, who scored 13 points on 5-6 shooting.
Portland Trail Blazers 70, Washington Wizards 49
Washington answered back in the third quarter in the form of Bradley Beal, who had been quiet in the first half but came roaring out of the locker room to score 16 points as the Wizards started to creep their way back into the game. Beal seemingly couldn’t miss, drowning the Blazers in a barrage of outside and mid-range jumpers.
McCollum continued to be the stalwart for Portland with nine points in the period, but the Blazers were outscored 33-21 and only managed to hold on to a nine point lead heading into the final frame.
The lead got chipped down further to four on Bojan Bogdanovic’s three with seven minutes remaining, then to just one on Markieff Morris’s and-1 layup, and finally an angle three from Beal completed the comeback for Washington to regain a 108-106 lead. The last of which was part of a 13-0 run by the Wizards where Portland just went ice cold. Buckets by Otto Porter and Wall extended the hole to six and by the final minute the Blazers were fighting for their lives.
A defensive three second technical combined with an Aminu three gave Portland a four-point possession, and then after forcing a rare Beal miss at the other end, Jusuf Nurkic knocked down two clutch free throws to tie the game at 112.
Wall’s foul-line jumper at the buzzer was off to bring on the second consecutive overtime for both teams.
Portland Trail Blazers 112, Washington Wizards 112
The beginning four minutes and 57 seconds of the extra period will get very little attention in the coming days and much of the talk will likely be dominated by the final shot, a Morris corner two with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock that looked to come after he had stepped out of bounds. The call was missed and is not reviewable under NBA rules, ultimately giving the controversial win to the Wizards. More to come I’m sure.
The Blazers will get on a plane tonight and head to Phoenix to take on the Suns tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.
-- Ryan Rosback | email@example.com | Twitter