The Washington Wizards opened up the first game of the four game West Coast swing, with a 118-111 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers earlier tonight local time. This victory is the fourth win in a row for the Wizards and their tenth victory of the season..
The game did not start off great for Washington. The Wizards got down by as many as 14 points with some bad defense to start the game out. In total, the Wizards allowed 43 points in the first quarter. The defense would tighten up. Surprisingly despite the poor start, the Wizard held Damian Lillard to only 6 1st half points. Wizards ended up taking the lead right before half and walked into the locker room with a 6-point lead at 61-55. This happened on the strength of outscoring the Blazers 30-12 in the 2nd frame.
The 12 points the Blazers scored in the 2nd were the fewest the Wizards have allowed in a quarter since 3/31/19 in the 2018-19 season.— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) February 21, 2021
In the 2nd half, Lillard would awaken, scoring 23 of his 35 points, in the 3rd quarter alone. The Blazers had the lead early on in the 4th, but they simply could not hold on as the Wizards stepped back up with better defensive plays and some timely big shots by Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura to put the game out of range.
A roller coaster defensive effort
Wizards started off with some porous defense in this game, giving up 43 points in the first quarter, while allowing the Blazers to put in 8 3-pointers. In the 2nd quarter, however, the Wizards tightened up on the defensive end only allowing one 3-pointer. Unfortunately for the Wizards, Lillard got hot and paced their 3rd quarter scoring. Wizards were fortunate to get back on track in the 4th to close the game out, but going forward the Wizards will need to be more consistent on defense.
Surprising three point discrepancy
If I were to tell you that one team made 19 threes, on 35 percent shooting, in this game and the other team made 6 threes, 23 percent shooting, I would guess that many would assume the team who hit the most threes won. That actually did not happen for this game. Despite the huge discrepancy in threes, the Wizards were still able to outscore the Blazers. Davis Bertans in particular stood out, as he started the game 0-6 from three point range before hitting two huge 4th quarter threes.
- Bradley Beal finished with a game-high 37 points (16-of-27 FG) in his first game after being named a starter in the NBA All-Star Game.
- Russell Westbrook had his eighth triple-double of the season with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. Westbrook did also have 7 turnovers, but shot the ball very well (11-of-17 FG). His game overall was a very encouraging sign as he made a concerted effort to look for teammates and limit his outside shooting (only attempted one three pointer).