The Trail Blazers had built a six-game win streak with a spectacular offense infused by points from up and down their roster. It was efficient and effective.
The defense was slightly improved during the streak, but there was no sign of that Saturday night in Moda Center, as the Washington Wizards posted a 118-111 win over Portland.
The Trail Blazers have been accused of living and dying by the three-point shot this season. But in this game, they were picked apart by twos.
The Trail Blazers led 43-31 after the first quarter even while the Wizards were shooting 61.9 percent from the field. About that time, Portland’s bench began to filter into the lineup and the offense came to a screeching halt.
Portland shot just 16 percent from the field in the second quarter, 20 percent from three-point range and was outscored 30-12.
The pattern was set. The home team was never able to find consistent scoring to back up Damian Lillard. The usually reliable Gary Trent finished 6-16 from the field. Anfernee Simons and Carmelo Anthony were each 2-10. Rodney Hood was 0-3. Portland’s bench was a combined 5-25.
Meanwhile, the Wizards shot 50.6 percent from the field and outscored the Blazers by 20 points in the paint.
Lillard finished with 35 points, 12 assists and six rebounds but collected those numbers in unusual fashion.
He had an incredible third quarter, going 7-8 from the floor, including 5-5 from three-point range for 23 points. In the other three quarters he was 3-22 overall and 2-12 from three.
The Trail Blazers outscored the Wizards by 39 points from the three-point line and lost -- an incredible statistic made possible by a leaky defense that allowed penetration and 56 points in the paint. And Portland needed 55 three-point shots to make 19 of them.
“You know, that's just a crazy boxscore,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “We shot 16 percent in the second quarter, we shot 25 percent in the fourth quarter.
“Score 80 points in the first and third quarters combined. I don't know. I don't know if it's been done where a team makes 13 more threes and loses the game.”
It probably has something to do with defense. And Portland's wasn't good enough to make up for the bad night on offense.