The Portland Trail Blazers had just been embarrassed by the NBA's worst team two nights ago, so they came into Monday's game at Verizon Center ready to make amends. The Wizards, on the heels of an emotional loss to the Boston Celtics, didn't have the same energy as they lost for the fifth time in six home games.
Marcin Gortat (16 points, 13 rebounds) led the Wizards but after they took their first lead of the game, 60-59, to open the third quarter on Garrett Temple's three-pointer then it was all downhill.
Portland (19-25) went on a 23-1 run, led by C.J. McCollum (25 points), Myers Leonard (18), Damian Lillard (16) Alan Crabbe (14) and Mason Plumlee (10 points, 11 rebounds).
Temple (18 points), Bradley Beal (16), Gary Neal (11), Jared Dudley (10) and Ramon Sessions (10) gave the Wizards a jolt offensively but they couldn't get stops on the other end. John Wall (nine points, 10 assists) wasn't himself.
The Wizards already have more home losses (13) than they had all of last season.
- On the first play of the game, the Wizards had a botched coverage on Lillard's first basket which was a drive for a layup. They didn't change much with their scheme but this showed a lack of preparedness even though the game plan had been established. It's all about recognizing personnel. McCollum rarely goes all the way to the basket. He will pull up for jump shots every time. Lillard tends to pass or stop his dribble and pull up going left. He's more prone to going all the way to the basket going right. The Wizards had poor recognition with personnel.
- Nene and Gortat, who started together the past two seasons, shared the court for the first time to combat one of the better rebounding teams in the league. Nene was limited to 12 minutes in the last game because the Wizards were playing the second game of a back-to-back so coach Randy Wittman, who had to be measured with how he used him there, had him on the court 17 minutes. They duo was together from 5:38 of the first quarter when Nene entered for Dudley trailing 19-6, and that lasted until Gortat checked out at 1:42 as they remained down 22-12. In the third, the deficit was pronounced with them together. Nene checked in at 7:54 to play with Gortat and the Wizards down 68-61. When Gortat left at 3:59, they were down 84-65. Gortat was 6 of 8 in the first half in 18 minutes. In eight minutes of the third, Gortat didn't a shot attempt as the spacing on the court wasn't as good to receive the pocket passes from Dudley (four) for layups. The combination doesn't work particularly when bigs like Leonard are making 4 of 7 three-point shots.
- After playing a season-high 44 minutes on Saturday and missing the game-tying layup because his legs were drained, Wall was flat. He shot just 4-for-17 and missed four consecutive open mid-range jump shots as Portland went on that run after halftime to put the game away. With the game long over, Wall played until less than three minutes were left with the outcome decided. He played 36 minutes and given how this game went should've been less than 30.
- Portland made 17 of 31 three-pointers, most of them clean looks, for 55%, and had a 48-35 edge in rebounding. It's hard to win if you're the Wizards with those numbers, even having just nine turnovers
- In a game like this, the Wizards needed Beal who still is on a minutes restriction. In part because of him, they were able to trim a 17-point deficit to 59-57 at halftime. The spacing on the floor wasn't good with no one hitting shots early. Beal made 2 of 3 three-point shots in the first half and it changed the tone for the better but it couldn't last. Still, there are communication issues that go back the previous few seasons with him not moving off the ball. It led to a turnover by Nene who was trying to direct him and he ended up making a bad pass instead. If Beal had moved where directed, he would've had an open shot. Nene was correct.