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Wizards vs. Blazers preview: Two straight vs. the Northwest's best?

Can the Wizards top the Best of the Northwest twice in a row? Portland comes to town after Oklahoma City fell on Saturday.


The Wizards return home after going 2-2 on a West Coast road trip. Awaiting them? The Slim Reaper.

There's no chance for a letdown after one of the biggest wins of the season, because another elite team is coming to the Verizon Center. The Portland Trail Blazers storm into town with a 34-13 record and a top playoff seed in the deep Western Conference. Another win will require another strong effort.

Also, there's some sort of milestone on the line for the Wizards, but I can't remember what it is.

Where and when? Tip off is at 7 p.m. at the Verizon Center.

Are they good? We've been waiting for the surprising Blazers to fall off, but it's yet to happen. The Blazers remain tied for the second seed out West and have only been overshadowed by Oklahoma City's rise. Whether they are a championship contender is up for debate, but they are clearly one of the half-dozen teams right below that level.

Who's out? Washington is missing Al Harrington. Portland is healthy.

What are they good at? This is one of the prettiest offensive teams you'll ever see. The Blazers have threats all over the floor and a system shepherded by Terry Stotts that constantly gets them open. Stotts has taken much of the "Flow" offense from Dallas to Portland, and it's a perfect fit for great cutters like Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum, as well as shooters like Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Robin Lopez's offensive rebound completes the group. They shoot lots of threes very well and can negate even the best defense with better shooting.

What are they bad at? This is not a great defensive team, though I think they are a little better than their record. Lillard can be exploited and the Blazers get particularly bad when Mo Williams shares the court with him. John Wall will have an opportunity to shine tonight.

Who's going to win? Pulling off wins over Oklahoma City and Portland back to back is a tall order. I think it's far more likely the Wizards top the Spurs on Wednesday instead.