Team Records: Portland (6-8) at Washington (0-12)
Game Info: 4 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.
Vegas Line: Portland -3
Refs: Derrick Stafford, David Guthrie, James Williams
The Skinny: After a bad loss Monday in Detroit, the Blazers travel to the nation’s capital looking to avoid being the first team to lose to the Wizards this season. The Wizards have come close a few times this year, most notably in a game against the Bobcats last weekend where an apparent game winner came a fraction late but have yet to actually win a single game. The good news for Wizards fans is they are still six games away from tying the NBA record for longest losing streak to open a season, which was set when the 2009-10 NJ Nets started the year 0-18.
Last Season: The Blazers split the season series with the Wizards with each team winning on the road.
Projected Wizards Lineup:
PF: Kevin Seraphin (France, 3rd season) – 11.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, .9 APG
SF: Trevor Ariza (UCLA, 9th Season) – 7.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.9 APG
C: Emeka Okafor (Connecticut, 9th season) – 7.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, .9 APG
SG: Bradley Beal (Florida, Rookie) – 11.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2 APG
PG: AJ Price (Connecticut, 4th season) – 9.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 5.4 APG
Player to Watch: Bradley Beal (pictured at right) – It has not been the start Bradley Beal would have hoped for. The third overall pick in the 2012 draft was seen as a very good shooter and someone who could step right now and contribute immediately. Instead, Beal has struggled mightily from the field so far this season, shooting 32% from the floor (which also happens to be the same % he is shooting from deep). When he gets to the rim, he can score but other than that it’s a better than even chance that he’ll miss. Beal is a good rebounder for a player his size and on defense he is improving, if he is still generally adjusting to the NBA. There really is no place but up for Beal, and hopefully he will get a big boost when John Wall comes back from injury.
Did You Know?: The Wizards have shot a higher % than their opponent only once this season, in a 1 point OT loss to Atlanta.
Song of the Day: “Magic Dance” by David Bowie from the 1986 cult classic Labyrinth. It is pretty much the opposite of the Wizards so far this season as it is a great song. Enjoy:
Portland: Out – SG Elliot Williams (Achilles)
Washington: Out – PG John Wall (Patella), Questionable-PF Trevor Booker (Knee), C Nene (Foot), PG Shaun Livingston (Shoulder).
The Washington Generals famously had a 2,499 game losing streak in their matchups against the Harlem Globetrotters. Thankfully for the Wizards, they are nowhere near that (and never will be) but it sure as hell might feel like it. The Wizards are simply atrocious on defense, ranking dead last in offensive efficiency and true shooting % (the later by over 1.5%). They simply struggle to score the ball from almost anywhere on the court and can go cold in a heartbeat. Their defense, on the other hand, is okay, ranking in the middle of the league. They do a good job rebounding and holding the opponent to a reasonable percentage. Their defense should win them games but their sheer offensive ineptitude so far this season hasn’t allowed them to do so.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They deliver an early knockout blow. You can’t let a team that hasn’t won a game this year think they have a chance. The best course of action is to knock them out early.
Washington wins if: Hold Portland under 90 points. A very difficult ask but if the Blazers are sloppy as they were Monday, its not impossible to see the Wizards finally winning one Wednesday.