Portland Trail Blazers (25-40) vs Washington Wizards (29-35)
The Portland Trail Blazers take on the Washington Wizards at the Moda Center for a brief one game home stand between two road stints. The Blazers have lost six straight after the All-Star break and seem to be playing for lottery odds. The Wizards are coming on the second night of a back-to-back with a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers last night and are trying to keep their play-in hopes alive.
Saturday, March 12 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: Root Sports NW, NBA League Pass
Blazers injuries: Damian Lillard (out), Nassir Little (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Eric Bledsoe (out), Didi Louzada (out), Joe Ingles (out), Justise Winslow (out), Anfernee Simons (out)
Wizards injuries: Bradley Beal (out)
SBN Affiliate: Bullets Forever
What To Watch For
- The tank is in full effect. The Blazers currently sit with the eighth worst record in the NBA. However, to anyone who has watched the Blazers in their last six games, it is obvious that this team is bad. Really bad. The Blazers have the easiest remaining schedule according to tankathon.com, but with the roster they are running out is one of the worst line-ups in recent NBA memory. The Blazers have a lot of ground to make up after trying to win games early in the season, but they have a lot of big games against bad teams that could boost their odds if they lose.
- The post-Beal Wizards. The Wizards were the number one seed in the East once upon a time. However, they have since plummeted all the way out of the play-in tournament. They have been without Beal since the end of January, going 6-10 since his season ending injury. Losers of their last two, if they are hoping to make a late push for the play-in tournament, a convincing win over a floundering Blazers team might be just what they need.
- Next man up? In the two games since Simons got injured, only two players have put up more than 15 points per game, with Brandon Williams leading the way with 18 a game for those two and Trendon Watford chipping in 16.5 per game. Both players have benefited from relaxed defense late in blowouts, as the Blazers have scored just 109 points in the first three quarters of their last two games. Someone has to start scoring eventually, just from a statistical perspective. Who will that player be for the Blazers in the remaining part of the season is the only real intriguing question left for the tanking Blazers.
What Others Are Saying
Renzo Salao of Bullets Forever recapped standout performances of many Wizards in their recent loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Wiz started off ice-cold from three-point land, connecting on just one of their first nine attempts from distance. But they rallied to close the first with a 9-0 run, including two triples from Rui Hachimura.
The Japanese national was perfect in the first half. He finished with 13 points on a spotless 5-for-5 shooting clip to go alone with five rebounds as Washington took a 59-52 lead into the break.
Kyle Kuzma tallied 23 points and seven rebounds against his former club while Kristaps Porzingis garnered his first double-double as a Wizard with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Corey Kispert was arguably the biggest bright spot for Washington with career highs in points (21) and three-pointers made (5).
Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale went back to look at the Kristaps Porzingis trade with a month as a sample size from the big man in his new environment.
Porzingis fits whatever aim Washington fancies. For the time being, with Beal on the sidelines, the Wizards get to plumb the depths of his offensive usage more thoroughly than perhaps anyone before them—including the New York Knicks. And relative to how many post-ups KP is already churning through, both he and Washington seem prepared to make the most of the opportunity.