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Trail Blazers Welcome Wizards On MLK Day

01/20/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN

    On Monday, the Trail Blazers (20-20) welcome the Washington Wizards (8-30) to the Rose Garden for the second and final meeting of the season. The Trail Tip-off will be at 7PM and will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 1190 AM or 102.3 FM. The Trail Blazers will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak. The NBA will also be recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. day around the league and in Portland.

        •    Portland is going through their roughest stretch of basketball they've had this year. The bounces that seemed so favorable only a few weeks ago have gone the other way. However, rather than point the finger at each other, the Trail Blazers remain united. Will Barton said that the Trail Blazers must stay together and as long as they are a "family" and are like "brothers" that things will be fine and things will get back on track. As Barton said, when the finger pointing begins is when things go downhill and the Trail Blazers aren't that team. Although this team is struggling right now and has experience some very thrilling highs, perhaps the most encouraging trait of this team is that they always have their eyes towards the next game, win or lose.
      
     •    The last match-up between these two teams was a very close game that the Wizards won in Washington on November 28th. The Trail Blazers were in the midst of a three-game losing streak the last time and things did not improve. The Trail Blazers were then, as they are now, victims to poor offense as they shot under 35 percent. Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard each scored 20 points, both doing their damage from the three-point line as they combined for nine three-pointers between the two of them. Jordan Crawford was the high-point man for the Wizards as he scored 19 points off the bench. When Crawford gets in a rhythm, he can be tough to stop. That was also the Wizards first win of the season. In the previous match-up, the Trail Blazers were successful in keeping the turnovers battle in their favor, as they forced 16 from the Wizards. The Wizards are 28th in the NBA in turnovers. Portland has to shoot better, especially in the first half against the Wiz. The Wizards may have a bad record but they have been playing very well as of late, as they are 4-2 over their last six games including wins over Oklahoma City and at Denver.
     
      •    One of the reasons that Wizards have started to play so well over the last few games is the return of John Wall on January 12th. The Wizards have been a solid defensive team all season, as they are currently ranked 10th but their offense has been the league's worst all season. Wall's arrival has taken the Wizards offense from unwatchable to downright fun at times. Also, rookie Bradley Beal, who wasn't playing much early in the season has started to figure it out as his scoring average and field goal percentage have gone up every month and he's averaging 18.6 points per game in January. The match-up to watch will be the one between the two backcourts. Lillard and Matthews will have a fun match-up against these two and it certainly makes the match-ups more intriguing the last match-up. With the Trail Blazers on their losing streak and the Wizards having picked it up significantly over the last week or so will certainly have them ready to play on Monday.


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