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Recap: Wizards hang on against the surging Blazers

Bilal Coulibaly came up with the crucial stop to eke out the 118-117 win.

Washington Wizards v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Wizards visited the Portland Trail Blazers for some Thursday night holiday hoops. Though Portland came storming back late, Washington held on for a 118-117 win.

Thursday’s matchup was an intriguing one because the Wizards and Blazers are currently in the exact same spot — both teams just blew up middling situations and leaned fully into a rebuild. Both teams also employ a large number of veterans who will be attractive names on the trade market this February — Kyle Kuzma, Jerami Grant, DeAndre Ayton, Tyus Jones and Matisse Thybulle, just to name a few.

The Wizards led 67-54 at half but had absolutely no answers for Anfernee Simons, who torched the Wizards porous perimeter defense to the tune of 41 points. Kuzma led the Wizards in scoring with 32 points, while Tyus Jones poured in 24 on a blistering 5-for-7 from deep.

The Wizards nearly blew a late lead when Kuzma missed a crucial free throw and a foul call on Matisse Thybulle was overturned. However, on the pivotal final possession, Bilal Coulibaly locked up Jerami Grant to narrowly eke out the win.

The Wizards now improve to 5-22 ahead of a matchup with Steph Curry and the Warriors tomorrow night, Washington’s lone nationally televised game of the season.