Trail Blazers vs Wizards Wednesday, 11/28/12 AT 04:00PM

Trail Blazers Look To Bounce Back Against Wizards

11/28/12
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    The Trail Blazers (6-8) are looking to bounce back after two straight road losses on Wednesday in Washington D.C. against the Wizards (0-12). The Wizards, of course are the NBA's only winless team, although they've been close in many of their losses. The Trail Blazers suffered a rough night defensively on Monday in Detroit. The game against the Wizards game gives the Trail Blazers an opportunity to have a good defensive outing as well as get a win heading into another back-to-back situation at the end of the week. The game will tip off at 4PM and will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

        
    •    To answer the question of what to expect from the Washington Wizards is an incredibly hard question to answer at this point. They just got their highly paid center, Nene, back from injury. They've now tried out four starting line-ups so far this season. They lost heartbreakers in overtime and double-overtime against the Hawks and Bobcats respectively before being blown out by the Spurs on Monday. They currently have the worst offense in the league. They have been without their stud point guard John Wall for the entire season which certainly doesn't help matters. Coincidently, Joe House from Grantland.com, a Wizards fan, wrote quite a detailed look at the state of the Wizards on Tuesday that's worth reading if you want to learn more about how things have gone for them. It's not entirely serious but a good read nonetheless.
        
    •    Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum have got to get it going. The Trail Blazers offense was ranked as well as ninth in efficiency when Batum and Lillard were playing well. Against Detroit and Brooklyn, they struggled to make a positive impact in the game. Batum and Lillard have impacted the game in other ways but as the Trail Blazers rely a lot on their starters for scoring, they need to pick it up in that regard. The bench brought some punch against Detroit, mainly behind the great play of Will Barton, who scored a career high 12 points. Our own Casey Holdahl caught up with Barton after the game. Barton's athleticism and the way he scores is something nobody else on the Trail Blazers bench can bring because he is so versatile. While many of them that can knock down open shots and occasionally create some, Barton can take and make shots with defenders in his face and has a first step to get to the rim. In addition to what Barton can do on offense, he is a great rebounder for his position and has pretty decent court vision, too. He can score and impact the game in more ways than one when he has it going and his versatility could prove to be very useful for Coach Stotts going forward.  If Wesley Matthews' thumb gives him trouble producing at his normal level, Stotts may have to call on Barton to provide an offensive spark again.
        
    •    With an offense coming into the game ranking last in the league, the Trail Blazers are out of excuses if they have another defensive letdown. Nene's return to the Wizards'  line-up has improved things slightly but as you look at the rest of their roster they present a list of incompetent offensive players and not-so gun-shy "chuckers" who shoot a low percentage. Damian Lillard, after facing a gauntlet of talented point guards, gets somewhat of a break against the Wizards who start AJ Price and have Jannero Pargo rotating as well as Shaun Livingston (questionable with a sore shoulder) while John Wall is injured. So the point guard position should not be an issue. On the wings they don't really present many threats offensively unless Jordan Crawford and Bradley Beal get hot. Nene is their best offensive player and the Trail Blazers have had trouble keeping big men away from the basket as of late. Stopping him and the other Washington bigs at bay in the painted area should be priority number one. Kevin Seraphin has also shown some scoring ability in the post this season.
        
    •    LaMarcus Aldridge inching closer to the hoop? Against Detroit he took about three more shots than he averages from inside 15 feet. Where he was able to get his shots against Detroit ended in his best offensive performance of the year and his first 30-point performance. According to Hoopdata, the Detroit game resulted in his second highest True Shooting percentage (a stat that takes into account field goal percentage, free-throw percentage and three-point percentage) of the year. His highest TS% came in the crazy overtime win against Houston on November 16th. However, the difference between that game and Detroit one is simple: Aldridge was six of nine (66.7 percent) on long twos against Houston, an outlier performance, as he is shooting 38.8 percent on such shots so far this year. Aldridge was seven for 10 inside 15 feet against Detroit. Aldridge also tied a season high in free-throw attempts against the Pistons. The Wizards do have a lot of big men but so did the Pistons and many would argue the ones the Pistons have are better. Aldridge was three of nine (33 percent) on long twos against Detroit but still managed to have his highest scoring output of the year because he was taking and hitting more shots from closer in than he usually does.

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