Team Records: Portland (19-21) at Washington (9-29)
Game Info: 4 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 750 the Game
Vegas Line: Portland -5
Refs: Scott Foster, Steve Anderson, Kane Fitzgerald
The Skinny: After quitting on their coach and on themselves last night in Boston, the Blazers face their own professionalism Saturday night in Washington. With a loss likely to lead to a new head coach (and a win probably merely staving off this for a few more days), what will the Blazers do? The Wizards come in off an impressive win over the Lakers last time out.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers suffered what must have then seemed like the worst loss of the year (if only we knew them what we know now) as they let themselves be used for target practice on defense, offering little resistance as the Wizards rolled to a win in Portland.
Projected Wizards Lineup:
PF: Trevor Booker (Clemson, 2nd season) – 7.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, .7 APG
SF: Chris Singleton (Florida State-Rookie) – 4 PPG, 3 RPG, .8 APG
C: JaVale McGee (Nevada, 4th season) – 11.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG, .6 APG
SG: Nick Young (USC, 5th season) – 17.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.2 APG
PG: John Wall (Kentucky, 2nd season) – 17.6 PPG, 5 RPG, 7.8 APG
Player to Watch: JaVale McGee (pictured at right) – No one ever said JaVale McGee had a high basketball IQ so a play earlier this year in which he ran back on defense while his team secured the offensive rebound is not too surprising for him. McGee lives to do two things, dunk the ball and block shots, in the most demonstrative way possible. If its not one of these two things, he really couldn’t care less. Still, he produces more than his share of highlight plays and is at least fun to watch.
Did You Know?: The Wizards are 5-27 this season when allowing opponents to score more than 80 points.
Song of the Day: “Janie’s Got a Gun” by Aerosmith-Yes I know Gilbert Arenas isn’t on the team anymore but simply couldn’t resist another joke at his expense: Enjoy:
Portland: Out – C Greg Oden (knee), SG Elliot Williams (Shoulder).
Washington: Out – C Ronny Turiaf (hand), Questionable-SG Rashard Lewis (Knee).
Re-Evaluating Washington: Highlight Factory
You can say this much about the Wizards, even when they lose, they are often fun to watch. They have enough talent on any given night to give some teams trouble (see their home wins over the Lakers and Thunder) but mostly they end up holding an impromptu dunk contest on the court by about midway through the third quarter. Still, if you are going to ask fans to pay good money to watch a team that you know is going to be awful, there are worse things than at least having an entertaining bunch to root for.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They give a shit. Not to be too blunt about it but the earlier loss besides, this game is all about how Portland reacts. If they give even a tiny shit, they should walk away with this one. If not, adios Nate.
Washington wins if: They get hot from deep. If the Wizards don’t make their 3 pointers, they almost never win. They will have to do so tonight to have a shot at the sweep.