April 20, 2021

Wizards continue winning ways on western swing, beat Portland 124-109

After a resounding win in Detroit on Sunday, the Washington Wizards travelled to face the Portland TrailBlazers in the second contest of a five-game road trip. They won their second game in a row, defeating the TrailBlazers, 124-109.

It is the first time that the Washington squad has won in Portland since 2005.

On Sunday, JaVale McGee led the way fro the Wiz.  On Tuesday, a new player stepped forward – Nick Young.

Although he can be erratic times, his play overall this season has been solid and he stepped it up against the Blazers, scoring 35 points and making seven out of his eight three-point attempts.  Meanwhile, John Wall too had an impressive night, dropping 29 points with nine assists.

Off the bench, Jordan Crawford scored 22 points. JaVale McGee also contributed with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

The Blazers spent much of the night without All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, who injured his ankle in the first quarter.

Throughout the season, the Wizards have been hurt by sloppiness and inconsistent play; however, that was not the case against the Blazers.

They showed efficiency with their shots, shooting 60 percent from the field, plus hit 9 out of 17 attempts from the three-point line (52.9 percent); in addition, the Wizards shot 82.6 percent from the free throw line.

After the game, Wizards’ coach Randy Wittman spoke about his team’s effort.

“That’s complete a game as we’ve played this year. I thought our guys were in tune. We told them this is a tough place to play. The key was our start. We moved the ball as well as we’ve moved it tonight.”

He added, “We kept the crowd out of it for the most part; when they did make a run a couple times, our guys kept their composure. We saw a lot of different things down the stretch that we haven’t seen as a young group. We had a couple miscues, but for the most part, I thought we attacked it pretty good.”

For Portland, Nicolas Batum led all scorers with 33 points, and Gerald Wallace had 25.

The Wizards held a slim 28-26 lead after the first quarter against the Blazers; however, a strong second period put them up 58-46 by halftime.

Portland tried to hang with Washington in the third period, as they came within seven points, 70-63, off a short tip-in by Marcus Camby at the seven-and-half-minute mark; however, two consecutive three-pointers by Young within twenty seconds put the Wizards up 76-63 with a little less than seven minutes remaining.

From there, it was all Wizards. They finished up the third quarter up 91-82 and ran away at the end, outscoring the Blazers, 33-27.

For the second game in a row, Washington put down the clamp and closed out their opponents.

Wittman said, “It’s a growth process. We haven’t been able to do that in the past. We’ve kind of played scared a little bit when that happened, but we’re not now. “

 He added. “You’ve got first- and second-year guys that now understand that you have to continue to attack and not worry about what the other team is doing so much.”

It has been a long struggle for the Wizards this season; however, Crawford summed up Washington’s effort on the night and how they can build momentum thanks to a successful road trip so far.

“It shows that we can definitely compete with everybody, it’s just that we have to do it every night.”

The Wizards continue their trip tonight as they face Chris Paul, high-flying Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center out West.

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