Washington Runs Out of Gas in the Second Half, Falling to the Trail Blazers 124-116
The Washington Wizards were at home last night, facing off against the Portland Trail Blazers for what turned out to be a great game. Washington exposed Portland through the opening two-quarters thanks to an 18-point first half from Bradley Beal. However, the Blazers came out swinging the rock around the Wiz in the second half to come back and win 124-116.
So Beal had 18 in the first half but would finish the night strong with 34 points. He did so very efficiently, shooting 56% from the field and 40% from deep. Brad, though, was quiet in all other categories despite putting on a dribbling show here and there.
Washington had another hot hand in the building last night. It was KP. Porzingis went for 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists on 60% shooting, including 3-6 from 3-point land. The Latvian 7-footer was feeling himself in the first half, hitting back-to-back deep, pull-up 3-pointers. He also had a scare in the second half when Drew Eubanks gathered the courage to try to put him on a poster.
The rest of the Wizards were quiet.
Monte Morris and Daniel Gafford were both held to under 10 points despite seeing nearly 30 minutes of court time. Gafford did, however, bring in 6 rebounds and shot the ball well, 4-5, when he had his opportunities. And Morris was dishing out assists, surpassing his season average of 5 per game with 6 against the Blazers.
Kyle Kuzma didn’t score as much, only scoring 12 points. It wasn’t because he wasn’t getting the opportunities, it was because he didn’t capitalize on the chances he had. Kuz shot 4-11 from the field and failed to hit a single 3-pointer despite taking 5. But Kuzma got it done on the glass, leading the Wizards with 11 rebounds to go along with 6 assists.
For the Blazers, it was Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, and a bit of Josh Hart.
Lillard and Simons combined for 62 of Portland’s 124 points and both had a team-high 6 assists. It was 33 points from Simons, 27 of which came in the second half, and 29 points from Lillard.
Simons was able to pile up so many points in the final two quarters because the Trail Blazers were making so many extra passes, causing rotation issues for the Wizards and allowing Simons to hit 7 of his 9 3-pointers in that second half.
You could also add in Josh Hart because he still put up 21 points when the night was over, but it was the fact that he was hustling for a team-high 9 rebounds, as well as hitting the deep shot that gave the Blazers their first lead in the game with about 7 minutes remaining.
When it was all said and done it was the fact that the Wizards played a two-quarter game and the Blazer ran the full marathon, playing a four-quarter game that was the difference. And maybe coach Unseld Jr. should have played Will Barton, who is averaging 12 points per game in his career against the Blazers.
However, Washington has to quickly put this game behind them because they head to Brooklyn to face the Nets, who are coming off a bad 96-139 loss to the Celtics, tonight. Tip-off for that game is set for 6 pm EST.