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Wizards at Trail Blazers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards at Trail Blazers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Now the second seed in the Eastern Conference, the Wizards continue their west coast road trip in Portland on Saturday night. John Wall and Bradley Beal will face a test in another talented backcourt: Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The Wizards are coming off an overtime gams the previous evening, so fatigue will be a factor. 

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…


Where: Moda Center
Tip-off: 10:00 p.m.
TV: CSN (coverage begins at 9:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

John Wall and Bradley Beal vs. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum

The big story of Saturday night will be about the backcourts. John Wall and Bradley Beal are both having career years, forcing their way into the conversation of the best backcourt tandems in the NBA. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum were in a similar position last season when Lillard made the All-Star Team and McCollum received the Most Improved Player award. Both are still playing at a very high level, but the Blazers find themselves outside of playoff position looking in, while the Wizards are sitting pretty at No. 2 in the East. A year ago the Portland duo would have been considered the clear favorite between the two. Wall and Beal have a chance to change that tonight. 

[RELATED: Beal continuing to be offensive machine]

Jusuf Nurkic is a man on fire

The Blazers big man put up a dizzying 28 points, 20 rebounds and 8 assists in an overtime defeat of the Sixers. He's been Portland's most exciting player since the All-Star break, not to mention hitting 75-percent of his free throws in that span. At 7-feet and 280 pounds, he'll be a handful for Wizards big men tonight. 

[RELATED: 5 must-see moments from the Wizards overtime win over the Kings]

Need more from Brandon Jennings

On the second night of a back-to-back on the road, John Wall could really use some solid minutes – scoring and playmaking – from Brandon Jennings. Jennings hasn't found his groove with Wizards yet. He played 13 minutes of the overtime win in Sacramento and scored zero points. Since signing with Washington, he's averaging 1.6 points on 19-percent shooting. He still contributes with more than four assists off the bench, but if he was going to pick a time to start scoring, now would be it. A fifth consecutive win is on the line. 

[RELATED: NBA Power Rankings: Movement in the East]

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Expectations weren't high, but at 2-7 are the Wizards underachieving?

Expectations weren't high, but at 2-7 are the Wizards underachieving?

Should the Wizards be better than this?

Certainly, what has transpired so far this season has not been all that surprising. They let more talent leave than they brought in over the summer, but by-design to get younger players with more long-term upside and more financial flexibility. With the roster they put together, few out there had any delusions of them contending for a top seed in the Eastern Conference.

But after nine games they sit 2-7, as certifiably one of the worst teams in basketball. No teams have fewer wins than the Wizards and only three have more losses. Those three are the Pelicans (Zion Williamson got hurt), the Warriors (everyone got hurt) and the Knicks. Hey, at least they're not the Knicks.

A 2-7 record, though, is a 2-7 record and some of the numbers aren't pretty. The Wizards are allowing 120 points per game, fourth-most in the NBA. Their 114.6 defensive rating is 29th out of 30 teams.

To be fair, we knew they were going to be dreadful defensively. Though they made some astute moves in the offseason, they basically brought in all offensive-minded players. 

Yes, much of what has happened for the Wizards this season has been predictable. But when you bring a magnifying glass over the big picture things have been, well, just okay so far.

When it comes to individuals, it's a mixed bag. Rui Hachimura has been a nice surprise because of how quickly he has translated to the NBA as a rookie. Thomas Bryant looks at least marginally improved. His trajectory appears to be continuing upward.

Moe Wagner has been solid, at least showing enough to prove he isn't the bust he resembled last year in L.A.. Davis Bertans has been excellent, giving general manager Tommy Sheppard an early feather in his cap by possibly beating the vaunted Spurs in a trade.

Isaiah Thomas has been mostly good so far. He may not be the All-NBA star from his Boston days, but the Wizards are at least getting more than Denver got out of him last year. 

But there have been some relative disappointments. Ish Smith and C.J. Miles haven't gotten going yet, though their long veteran track records should present some hope.

Troy Brown Jr. has not shown anything to suggest a second-year leap, but he missed all of the preseason with a calf injury and may need some time to catch up. Jordan McRae hasn't been great either, but should also be graded on a curve because of his injury.

We haven't seen anything conclusive yet from Admiral Schofield or Justin Robinson. Isaac Bonga was okay when he started the first seven games of the season, but showed nothing to write home about.

There have been some positives and some negatives, which is to be expected. Their latest loss was understandable, as they fell in Boston to the NBA-best 9-1 Celtics on Wednesday night. But their loss the game before, by double-digits at home to the Cavaliers, was a head-scratcher.

And still, 2-7 is 2-7. Right now, the Wizards look safely headed towards the lottery, hoping the ping-pong balls bring them a future star in James Wiseman or Cole Anthony.

Really, if that happens and they fall well short of the playoffs, it's okay. They are going to need more building blocks, anyways.

The Wizards are a franchise in transition, having just restructured their front office. The early part of this season is essentially baseline testing. It's not about how they look now, it's what they turn into by the end of the season and the foundation they lay for the future.

This year will be viewed as a success if Hachimura and Bryant continue to ascend, if Brown Jr. turns a corner and if some combination of Wagner, Schofield and Bonga show promise. Maybe Bertans, Thomas and Miles are flipped at the trade deadline for future assets.

It's still very early. We are just getting a good read on what the Wizards are at the moment.

As long as they make progress and trend up from here, things will be fine. If they don't, then there might be a different conversation.


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Rui Hachimura bluntly describes Wizards' defensive struggles this season

Rui Hachimura bluntly describes Wizards' defensive struggles this season

The Wizards didn't just drop their third straight to fall to 2-7 Wednesday night in Boston, but they again gave up an obscene amount of points. 

Washington fell 140-133, marking the fifth time in the first nine games in which they've given up more than 120 points. They've held an opposing offense under 100 twice. 

After the loss, Scott Brooks said the team's defensive issues started with the scouting report. Players weren't familiar enough with the Celtics' tendencies so when Washington needed a stop, they couldn't get one. 

Rookie forward Rui Hachimura put it a bit more bluntly. 

“From the beginning of the season, our defense has been no good," he said. 

With Hachimura, Bradley Beal and Isaiah Thomas, the Wizards shouldn't have any issue scoring this season. They have the sixth-ranked offense in the NBA, but the fact that they still have a -4.4 net rating is telling to how bad they've been on the other end.

The Wizards are in the midst of a rebuilding year. The goals for teams like these are to acquire young talent and hope they develop into foundational pieces. As important as obtaining talent is, building good habits can make or break a young player's development, especially in the age of the one-and-done.

They'll have to commit more to the defensive end if they have any hopes of putting multiple wins together. The question is whether they have the personnel to do it.