The Washington Wizards faced the Portland Trail Blazers tonight in a battle between two elite backcourts captained by Damian Lillard and John Wall. At the end of regulation the matter was undecided, leading to an overtime period that went down to the wire...and ended in frustration for both star guards. After Wall missed a pair of free throws with 6.6 seconds remaining, Lillard’s potential game-winner was denied by Otto Porter Jr. at the buzzer. The Blazers suffer their first defeat of the season 125-124.
Here are a few random notes and general feels about the game.
Who won the backcourt edge?
The John Wall/Bradley Beal versus Damian Lillard/CJ McCollum combo is perhaps the most closely contested “which pair is the better backcourt tandem” question in the NBA. This game isn’t likely to sway anyone’s opinion on the matter, mostly because of CJ’s Halloween-esque performance (5-25 FG, 1-9 3-PT). But, in the end, the Wizards got the win.
If you did a shot for every fast break point the Blazers produced during a given game last season, you would be the designated driver for every Blazers viewing party. While three games is a small sample size, Portland’s tempo has been quicker this season and the result has been a more exciting team to watch, even if it sometimes results in sloppy execution.
There was a good two-minute stretch at the beginning of the third quarter where you could have dubbed in Yakety Sax without a bit of irony. This game was far from pretty, and the Blazers were not nearly as sharp as they were the last two games. Neither were the Wizards, thank goodness. But, you don’t want to be peaking in October, either.
Nurkic continued his streak dating back to the beginning of last season where I scream at my TV for him to just dunk the basketball. That being said, Nurkic had a solid game where he wasn’t overshadowed by the play of Zach Collins.
[ed note: That late-game defense though...]
Morris, 28 points, just killed the Blazers in overtime, nailing a couple of dagger threes. But, it helped that nobody had a hand near him in overtime.
Everyone needs a friend like Evan Turner to buy all his friends Halloween costumes. Turner, by the way, is having a sneaky good start to the season.
Next Up: The Blazers hit the road for the first time this season. Portland’s four-game trip begins with the Orlando Magic on Thursday. Tip-off is an early 4pm. Stay tuned for an extended analysis of this game and more.