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Stop Damian Lillard and Wizards will stop the Blazers

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Stop Damian Lillard and Wizards will stop the Blazers

Matchup: Washington Wizards (19-20) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (18-25)

When: Monday, 2:00 p.m. (TV: CSN, CSNMidatlantic.com via NBC Sports Live Extra) 

When we last met: First meeting

Streaks: Both the Wizards and Trail Blazers entered the weekend with momentum. They head into the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday looking to avoid a losing skid. Washington lost a wild 119-117 thriller against the Boston Celtics Saturday night despite a season-high 36 points from John Wall. As for Portland, the Trail Blazers suffered the ultimate 2015-16 idignity: Losing to the 76ers. Not just lose, but by 25 points in Philadelphia as guard Damian Lillard went 4 of 18 from the field.

Three things to know:

By the numbers: If you think the Wizards' offense is working this month, you're right. In January, Washington is top 10 in points (104.6), assists (25.7) and 3-point shooting (37.6 percent). Defensively, the Wizards are 19th in rating (104.5 points per 100 possessions), but remain positive overall (+1.2). Portland is 31st in defensive rating (109.2).

Lillard or bust: Great stat on how much Portland relies on their All-Star point guard from STATS: When Lillard shoots under 38 percent, Portland is 0-12 with Lillard averaging 18.3 points. When he's over 38 percent, the Trail Blazers are 14-10 with Lillard averaging 27.9. Lillard (24.7 ppg) and backcourt partner C.J. McCollum (20.4) account for nearly half of Portland's 101.3 points per game.

Getting over the hill: Before the Wizards made the playoffs in 2014, they climbed over .500 during the regular season. It just took a while. Washington lost six straight times the game after evening its record before moving over .500 on the seventh chance which ironically came against Portland on Feb. 3, 2014 (The Wizards soon fell back before finally keeping a winning record for good later in the month.)  The recent four-game winning streak put the Wizards at . 500  for the first time since 6-6. Saturday's loss put them back under. “It’s tough," forward Jared Dudley said. "You’re going in there, you come in, we just had Brad [Beal], Brad’s out, Otto [Porter’s] out. It just happens, the key for us is to just weather the storm, keep it going, try to win these close games, come back and try to get Portland. I know once our chips are available for us, we’re going to be a team to beat.”

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

The All-Star break came at a good time for Wizards point guard Tim Frazier, who missed their last game before the week off due to nasal fracture surgery.

Frazier was back at the Wizards' practice on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena and expects to play on Thursday when the team returns to action on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I feel good. I feel like I can go out there and help them compete," he said.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Frazier, 27, had surgery to repair his broken nose on Feb. 11 after he was knocked out of the previous night's game between the Wizards and Bulls. Frazier collided face-first with the knee of Bobby Portis and was immediately ushered to the locker room with blood streaming from his nose.

Following the procedure, Frazier had to battle through pain and breathing issues. He feels much better now and had no complications after participating in a full practice.

The challenge now is adjusting to a fitted mask he will have to wear to return to the court. Frazier has never had to wear a mask before in his basketball career.

"[Sweat] was one of the issues today, trying to keep it dry when I'm sweating underneath," he said.

"He looked good," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he would be a little uncomfortable with it, but he seemed fine."

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

Frazier has been given advice from the Wizards' training staff, as well as teammate Bradley Beal who has had to wear a mask twice before in his career.

"Brad said that after a while you get used to it. Nobody wants to wear it for the rest of their careers besides Rip Hamilton," Frazier said.

Getting Frazier back is significant for the Wizards, who are already down a point guard with John Wall rehabbing from left knee surgery. Without Frazier against the Knicks on Wednesday, the Wizards had to use Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up at times. Now, with Tomas Satoransky and Frazier, they have a starting point guard and a backup who is used to playing the position.

They could have three point guards, as the Wizards continue to weigh their options in free agency. They have to add a player within the next two days to meet the league's minimum roster requirement. Most of the free agents they have evaluated have been point guards as they aim to compensate for Wall's absence, which could last well into the month of March.

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller look ahead to the biggest questions the Wizards need to answer after the All-Star break. They also explain why Bradley Beal proved a lot in his first All-Star Game appearance.

They also unveiled a new segment involving guessing Wizards players based on their social media captions.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!