The Wizards and Blazers came into the 2015-16 season wth wildly different expectations, but now find themselves in similar positions entering Tuesday's game.
Portland was supposed to be near the bottom of a stacked Eastern Conference while the Wizards were supposed to be near the top of a thin Eastern Conference. Instead, as Conference polarity has shifted, the Blazers now find themselves in prime position to make the playoffs this season, while the Wizards are still desperately trying to claw their way back into the bracket.
In the short-term, they both find themselves in challenging predicaments. Portland lost the last three games on their East Coast swing and could desperately use a win at home since they have games on the road against the Warriors, Thunder and Spurs in the next two weeks. Washington is coming off a disappointing weekend where they lost to Cleveland and Indiana and now has a challenging road trip with Portland and then a back-to-back in the thin air of Utah and Denver on Friday and Saturday.
Tuesday's result won't fix or break either team, but a positive results would help both sides avoid turning a short losing spell into a much longer one.
When - 10:00 pm EST
Where - Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.
TV - CSN Mid-Atlantic and NBA TV
Radio - 99.1 WNEW
Gary Neal did not travel with the team due to his injury, so he is out. Bradley Beal did not make the trip to Portland, but could join the team later in the road trip.
Bradley Beal indeed didn't make the trip to Portland because of pelvis injury he sustained Saturday, but he could join team vs. Utah Friday.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) March 7, 2016
Most Likely Wizards Killer: Al-Farouq Aminu
Terry Stotts has given Aminu the green light to fire away from behind the arc this season and he's responded with the best shooting of his career, averaging 34 percent behind the arc on five attempts per game. If the Wizards have to send extra help to slow down Damian Lillard, Aminu could have a big night.