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.”