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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Washington Wizards Preview

Portland heads to DC for the second leg of an unexpected back to back.

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Portland Trail Blazers v Washington Wizards Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers (10-9) vs. Washington Wizards (4-12)

The Blazers got trounced, smashed, blown away, humbled, overpowered, bested, discombobulated, routed, outplayed — really enjoying my new thesaurus — by the Milwaukee Bucks last night, and the Wizards are flying high after a surprise win over the supposedly contending Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. Portland needs to wipe the memory of the Fiserv Forum free-for-all and get back on track in the nation’s capital, because no one wants to see a cocky, upbeat Russell Westbrook for too long.

This game was only scheduled last week following a number of Wizards games previously being postponed due to the coronavirus.

Tuesday, February 2 - 5:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, League Pass, or see games all season on fuboTV, follow on ESPN+, or the ESPN/Disney Bundle*
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), CJ McCollum (out), Derrick Jones Jr. (out), Nassir Little (out)
Wizards injuries: Thomas Bryant (out), Raul Neto (out)
SBN Affiliate: Bullets Forever

*Blazer’s Edge receives a commission when you subscribe through these links.

What To Watch For

  • Fatigue. The injury-plagued Blazers are in the middle of a grueling six-game road trip, arriving in Washington the night after getting walloped by the Milwaukee Bucks. And with Damian Lillard carrying the bulk of the team’s offensive workload most nights, the Blazers will have to summon every ounce of strength to dispatch the Wizards, who enjoyed an extra day’s rest.
  • Nassir Little. Talk about doing it the hard way. We all know about the injuries and medical conditions Nas has endured. Last night we saw perseverance pay off — let’s not mention the final score — with the second-year wing notching up 30 points, shooting five of seven from three, in just 30 minutes. While we’re not expecting this scoreline every night, if Little can deliver a decent enough portion of this, the Blazers are better off.
  • Russell Westbrook. Arguably the most polarizing player in the modern NBA era, Westbrook boasts cringeworthy career shooting averages of 30 percent from three and 43 percent from the field. But every once in a while big bad Brodie comes out like he did against he Nets, scoring 41 on 57 percent shooting from the field and from behind the arc. The Blazers better be prepared for both Westbrooks.

What Others Are Saying

The Wizards have plummeted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with many writng why. Kevin Broom at Bullets Forever suggests it’s multiple factors, not necessarily coach Scott Brooks.

“The curious thing about the public push to fire Scott Brooks is how many of the critiques are off the mark.”

“He’s often blamed for an inability to improve the team’s defense. Yet, the Wizards have been doing many things well defensively. What they’re not doing well is likely either bad luck or a failure of the players.”

The Wizards exciting win against the Nets and Portland’s thrilling one-point victory over Chicago on Saturday were record setters, writes Albert Lee of Bullets Forever.

“The game isn’t just a huge comeback win for the Wizards, who were 3-12 heading into last night. It was also a historic comeback. According to ESPN States & Info, this is the ninth time in 25 years that a team has come back from five points or more with 10 or less seconds in the game.”

“Though the win is historic, it’s also the second time this happened in the last two days. On Saturday, the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Chicago Bulls on the road, 123-122 after Damian Lillard made two threes in the last 10 seconds of the game, including the buzzer-beating game winner.”

Trade rumors involving Wizards leader Bradley Beal have been swirling around the NBA, but Washington coach Scott Brooks says the in-form guard is staying put, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

“Brad and I have never talked about it. We know that’s part of it. We haven’t won and when you don’t win, teams think that you’re just gonna throw the towel in and give up, that you’re just gonna want to get rid of your good players. So, that’s all part of the business,” Brooks said after Saturday’s practice.

“Brad is no different. He’s one of the best players in the league, of course every team would want him. But the good part about it is the team he’s on loves him the most. I love coaching him. He wants to be here, he signed an extension. He didn’t have to.”