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Takeaways from Wizards' blowout win over Blazers

Takeaways from Wizards' blowout win over Blazers

Almost a year later, the narrative has flipped. Hardly anyone is suggesting Damian Lillard is a better point guard than John Wall anymore. It’s because the Wizards are now two games over .500 for the first time in their most dominant defensive performance for four quarters in a long time in Monday’s 120-101 blowout of the Portland Trail Blazers.

It’s Washington’s 12th consecutive win at Verizon Center, where they are 17-6 and has a distinct home court advantage that was absent during a 41-41 disappointment last season. The Blazers came here on MLK day on Jan. 16, 2015 and blew the doors off in a 108-98 win that wasn’t nearly as close as the final margin might indicate.

Wall (24 points, 7 assists) and Bradley Beal (25 points) dominated. Beal set a game-high on just 11 shots to lead all scorers. Markieff Morris (17 points, 13 rebounds) was a force as well, and Kelly Oubre (18 points) and Tomas Satoransky (10 points, 10 rebounds) came off the bench to round out the effort.

Marcin Gortat (6 points, 6 rebounds) had trouble finishing at the rim which was why he shot just 3-for-9 but the Blazers gambled off him and paid for it.

Between the end of the first quarter and the start of the second — with mostly reserves on the floor — the Wizards went on a 17-0 run to put away Portland (18-25) early.

Lillard (22 points) led the Blazers but didn’t have much help otherwise. He combined with C.J. McCollum for 41 in that blowout a year ago.

-- Unlike in the fourth quarter of the blowout vs. the Philadelphia 76ers, Wall and Beal had to re-enter briefly at 7:28 left when Portland trimmed the deficit to 105-87. He scored his two second-half points off foul shots, Wall drained a three and then gave up the ball to Beal for a breakaway dunk to force a stoppage at 4:39. Both left the floor up 114-92 and didn’t return and both teams emptied their benches.

--The aggression defensively that has only appeared for a quarter or a half was there the entire game. The Wizards blew up the dribble-handoffs and dribble-pitch exchanges to get the Blazers out of sync. Eight of their 15 turnovers came in the first quarter. Gortat helped with containment to keep Lillard and McCollum from getting to the rim.

--Morris was one point shy of a double-double at halftime. He has three after Monday after coming up one rebound short in the previous two games. It wasn’t just his rebounding but his effort to contest shooters that contributed to a defense that kept Portland to 42 percent shooting.

--Satoransky had his first true breakout game, with eight points in his first eight minutes. He made all three of his shots, including his first three-pointer since Nov. 21. Satornasky played 21 minutes against the Sixers in the last game and 19 Monday.

--McCollum picked up his third foul at 6:34 of the second quarter to knock him further out of rhythm following a 2-for-7 start from the floor. Beal kept the pressure on and made him defend to get him into foul trouble, keeping his dribble alive even when faced with a second defender to create. He had 21 first-half points on 6-for-8 shooting. He also was 6-for-6 from the line.

--After leaving the last game with a right hip strain for the second time this season, Otto Porter (12 points) played 30 minutes and made a three-pointer to end the first half for a 75-50 lead. 

[RELATED: Wizards head coach Scott Brooks shares thoughts on MLK]

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Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura tops the list of jersey sales in Japan

Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura tops the list of jersey sales in Japan

Today the NBA announced that Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has the most popular jersey in Japan.

Sales from NBAStore.jp, the official online NBA store in Japan, put Hachimura at the top of the list, followed by Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry. The rankings were based on online sales during the 2019-2020 NBA season through January.

Hachimura's ranking shouldn't come as a surprise, as the rookie became the first Japanese-born player selected in the first round of the NBA draft when the Wizards took him ninth overall last summer.

Not only was Hachimura the top-selling jersey, but he also accounted for 24% of all jersey sales. Additionally, the Wizards made up 13% of all team merchandise sales. 

The Lakers topped the list of most popular team merchandise, followed by the Wizards and the Warriors. The Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks rounded out the top five.

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Report: Steph Curry will return from hand surgery against Wizards

Report: Steph Curry will return from hand surgery against Wizards

Steph Curry will return to game action when the Golden State Warriors host the Wizards on Sunday night, The Athletic reported Tuesday. The game will come almost four months to the day after Curry broke his left hand during a collision with Phoenix Suns center Aron Baynes on Oct. 30.

The Warriors (12-14) enter play Tuesday with the worst record in the NBA having played most of the season without Curry or shooting guard Klay Thompson, who tore his ACL during the NBA Finals last summer.

Curry was cleared for contact Saturday and told reporters that March 1 had been his target date for a while.

"It's always been March 1," Curry said, per ESPN's Nick Friedell. "But that for me mostly is just to give you a target. You have to have something to work towards in the rehab process because that gives you a barometer for each week, what you're building towards."

The Wizards are hoping for the healthy returns of Davis Bertans (sore right knee) and Thomas Bryant (right foot) to the lineup against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and will presumably go into Sunday’s contest with a clean injury report outside John Wall.

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