Saturday's matchup against Washington is the second and final meeting between the Trail Blazers (18-10) and Wizards (9-17) this season.
Portland leads the season series, 1-0.
The Blazers defeated the Wizards on Feb. 2 in a 132-121 road victory.
Damian Lillard led the way with 32 points to go along with two rebounds and eight assists. In the loss, the Wizards once again looked to Bradley Beal, who scored 37 points and added four assists and two rebounds.
Beal and Lillard rank first and third in the league in scoring at 32.8 and 29.8 points per game.
For Saturdays’ contest, the Blazers will be without Harry Giles (left calf strain), CJ McCollum (left midfoot fracture), Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture).
For the Wizards, Thomas Bryant (left knee; left ACL injury), Ish Smith (Right quad) and Cassius Winston (G League - Two-way) are out.
Ahead of Saturday's game, our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes examined the All-Star Game voting system and how it’s stacked against Damian Lillard:
First, let’s deal with the most obvious problems with the NBA All-Star Game voting, which have led to Damian Lillard's remote chances of being a starter:
- You have heard this one before, but cities with the largest populations have a better chance to muster the most votes for their players.
- Foreign players -- think Yao Ming and China -- have a better chance because of the united front of an entire country voting for its guy.
- The NBA now uses a system where the fan vote is 50 percent, while media and players split the other 50. Why bother, though, if you’re going to say that if the media and players unite in voting for one player and the fans decide on another, the fans’ choice wins the tiebreaker? The fan vote is always going to win.
But one more thing nobody talks about when they use that tired old line, “It’s a fans’ game and they have spoken. They deserve to see who they want to see in this game.”
I’ve heard that same nonsense for years in all the leagues that have used fan voting to decide all-star teams. But…
This really isn’t a fan "vote." At least not a fair one. This is an election where you are allowed to vote as many times as you want. Yes, they say you’re allowed to vote only once a day. Unless, of course, you have multiple handles or email addresses. Then you can vote multiple times.
And think for a moment about the potential for abuse of that system.
Real fans do want the best players in the game. Or they should. But they don’t want the deck stacked against anyone.
You might delude yourself into thinking that leagues allow fans to vote so they can give the people what they want. But that’s never been part of the equation. It’s usually been about finding a title sponsor for the voting. Making money off of the voting.
When this thing started, they were handing out ballots at games with the sponsor’s name on it.
Read more here.
The Blazers are -4.5 point favorites against the Wizards, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about Saturday’s matchup --
- Robert Covington scored a season-high 19 points (6-10 FG, 5-8 3-PT, 2-2 FT) and pulled down nine rebounds against the Wizards on Feb. 2. Covington hit a career-high seven three-pointers against Washington on Oct. 18, 2017 while with the 76ers.
- Carmelo Anthony added 21 points on 8-of-16 from the field (1-5 3-PT, 4-4 FT) and four rebounds in the Trail Blazers previous meeting with the Wizards. Anthony has scored at least 20 points in back-to-back games against the Wizards.
- Bradley Beal recorded a career-high 21 FGM against the Trail Blazers on Dec. 5, 2017 in Portland.
- Rui Hachimura had a season-high 24 points (10-12 FG, 3-4 3-PT, 1-2 FT), five rebounds and one assist against Portland on Feb. 2. His 24 points are the third-most in his two-year career.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: -4.5 (-110) – Wizards: +4.5 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Saturday, February 20
Where: Moda Center | Portland, OR
Start time: 7:00 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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