John Wall tallied 24 points and 14 assists, but the Washington Wizards fell 116-103 to a Portland Trail Blazers team still without LaMarcus Aldridge.
If the Wizards want to fight for a playoff spot – their first since 2008 – they’re going to have to put games like Thursday night’s loss behind them. With two more road Western Conference games remaining in this stretch, Washington is currently sixth in the East.
Still, many of the playing habits coach Randy Wittman has tried to break returned, as Washington seemingly ran out of gas in the second quarter, allowing Portland an 8-0 run.
They never quite regained momentum, either.
In the third quarter, the Blazers outshot Washington 33-22, thanks in part to six made threes. By the end of the night, Portland made 14 of 35 three-point attempts and shot 50.6 percent from the field. Even more, both Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard topped the 20-point mark with 28 and 23, respectively.
The Wizards couldn’t quite pull it together in the fourth quarter to put up much of a fight. For a while, they seemed to test the three-point strategy effectively as Drew Gooden, Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza each sank long jumpers in the span of two minutes. But, Washington’s defense could not slow Matthews and Lillard, who continued to work their way over the 20-point threshold until the final 2:30 of the game.
Perhaps the most telling example of Washington’s up-and-down performance as of late was the fact that Wall himself provided some Jekyll-and-Hyde action. The Wizards’ point guard scored 13 points in the first quarter, zero in the second, 11 in the third and zero in the fourth.
Washington will look to recover some ground Friday night as the team takes on the (22-45) Los Angeles Lakers, who have now dropped three straight contests.