Wizards-Trail Blazers Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers couldn't overcome a porous defense in the back half of their season-high road trip but hasn't had trouble winning despite similar defensive issues at home.
They may have enough to outlast Washington on Tuesday night with one of the Wizards' leading scorers sitting out.
Portland (33-31) allowed an average of 94.0 points in a 3-0 start to a six-game trek but gave up 118.7 in three ensuing defeats.
"We knew it was going to be a tough trip," said coach Terry Stotts, whose team had also won 14 of 16 before its current skid. "It was good to get the three wins and certainly after winning the first three you hope to get another win or two on the road, but we're going to be tested from here on out."
The Blazers let Detroit shoot 52.4 percent and a season-best 12 of 22 from 3-point range in a 123-103 loss Sunday.
"We didn't come out with the right type of focus I guess and the right amount of intensity on the defensive end," said point guard Damian Lillard, who had 26 points after scoring 50 against Toronto on Friday. "We could have done a much better job helping each other out as a group. We just didn't do enough things well enough."
Portland has allowed 108.7 points per game in its last six at home but has averaged 114.7 at the other end to win four times. The Blazers are averaging 110.5 points in their last 12 overall games, 8.5 more than in their first 52.
The Wizards (30-32) will be forced to try to keep up with Portland while Bradley Beal sits because of a sprained hip. The guard, averaging a career-high 17.8 points, was hurt in the third quarter of a 100-99 loss to Indiana on Saturday and is reportedly out for the three-game Western trip.
Washington matched a season high with 64 points in the opening half against the Pacers but were limited to 35 in the final 24 minutes.
"This was an important one, no question. Now we've got to go out and make it up somewhere," coach Randy Wittman said. "Obviously, (Beal) going out hurt us. That's still not an excuse."
With Beal on the court, the Wizards lost 108-98 to Portland on Jan. 18. C.J. McCollum scored 25 points in the Blazers' third victory in the past four matchups.
They will seek a third consecutive home win in the series while attempting to bolster their three-game lead on a Western Conference playoff spot. The Wizards are in 10th place in the East.
Washington point guard John Wall is averaging 24.5 points on 51.4 percent shooting and 11.5 assists in his last two games in Portland, matching his highest scoring mark in any opposing arena since the beginning of 2013-14.