Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/21/13
PDX needs a win, now. The Portland Trail Blazers sure know how to make things interesting, don’t they? For the first time in franchise history, the team has lost five straight games by six points or less. Matchup: Portland (20-20) vs. Washington Wizards (8-30) Venue: Rose Garden Arena Time: 7:00 PM PT Date: Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 Portland needs a win as badly as anybody in the league, and they’ll look to get it against a Washington Wizards team that is finally finding success half way through the season. The Blazers are set to face the Wizards for the second time this season. (Photo: AP) Game Notes/How They Match Up This will be the second time the Trail Blazers have faced Washington this year, and the first time around was as unfortunate as it gets for fans in Rip City. The Wizards took down Portland 84-82 for its first win of the season after losing their first 12 games. Washington has been the worst team in the league all year, but they’re finally gaining some momentum. They’ve won four of their last six contests, and they’ve been close in the ones they lost. Portland, on the other hand, has lost all of the momentum they once had, and they’re now in the midst of their longest losing streak of the season. The Blazers are a much better team than the Wizards, but as we’ve learned over the last five games, momentum means more when you’re a young, inexperienced roster. What to Watch: Portland Until the Blazers can win a close game, this storyline is going to be exactly the same. The Blazers were once known for finishing close games in grand fashion. They were undefeated in their first five overtime games, they found clutch scoring from their top four scorers and they most recently came from behind to take down the defending champion Miami Heat. But then something changed, and this team began showing their youth. The problem isn’t so much that they can’t close out games; it’s that they can’t start them. Portland knows how to make a drastic comeback—we’ve seen it the last five games in a row. But when you begin a game falling behind by double-digits, every comeback proves to be too little, too late. If you believe in jinxes, blame ESPN’s Henry Abbott. He sat down with Terry Stotts and broke down how most teams who start off great in close games even out by the end of the year. If you don’t believe in jinxes, blame the Blazers bench. They began the season in ugly fashion, and then started to pick up speed, but have once again shown that a lack of depth—and a lack of talent—make it difficult to come from behind. For the sixth game in a row, Portland has to establish momentum early. Washington comes in with confidence, and if Portland gets off to a rough start, it could be the same tired story from start to finish. What to Watch: Washington Washington is dead last in scoring this season. They’re averaging an unimposing 90.8 points per game, and their leading scorer is John Wall, who has only played in five games all year. However, when this team wins, it’s because they’re able to put the ball in the basket. When you play the Wizards, you have to keep them around their points-per-game average. They only have eight wins on the season, but they managed to score about 10 points more per contest in each of those showings. This team has had the highest scoring bench throughout most of the season, but that’s much more a statement of how bad their starting lineup has been. With John Wall back in the lineup, the scoring role will shift back to the starting unit and away from the reserves. Rookie Bradley Beal is also playing much better basketball than he was to begin the year. John Wall missed the first matchup between these two teams. If you want to contain the Wizards, you have to lock down their scorers. They haven’t won much this season, but when they have, it’s because they’ve been able to score well above their season average. Key Matchup The first time these two teams met, we didn’t get to see the battle at the point guard position that we all wanted to see. Damian Lillard was there, scoring 20 points on 6-of-21 shooting, but John Wall was still out with an injury. This time, however, we’ll get to see the future of NBA points guards facing off in front of our eyes. Wall is the kind of player who will be an All-Star if he can keep his assists high and learn to make a jump shot. Damian Lillard is the kind of player who will be an All-Star if he can boost his assists without taking away from his lethal scoring ability. Both players have become primary scorers within their teams’ systems, and the cameras will be pointed their way as they face off for the first time this season. Injury Report Portland: DAY-TO-DAY—Nicolas Batum, Meyers Leonard Washington: DAY-TO-DAY—Jordan Crawford, Cartier Martin Prediction There’s still half a season to go for the Portland Trail Blazers, but if there’s any time to turn things around, it’s against the worst team in the NBA. Blazers 103 – Wizards 91 CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Houston taped SMU jerseys to ground as motivational tactic

Lionel Messi cleared of tax fraud charges

Clemson WR Mike Williams 'likely' out for rest of season

Week 5 NFL game watchability rankings

Gregg Popovich makes LaMarcus Aldridge sit out practice

Greg Hardy excited to face Tom Brady because of wife Gisele


Aldon Smith pleads not guilty to hit-and-run DUI

Why the Thunder starters need to stay healthy this year

Josh McCown, Craig Robertson defend Joe Haden

Jimmy Butler cannot believe teams game-plan for him

James Harden: I know I was the MVP, that’s 100 percent given

Five questions about the 2015 American League Wild Card game

Usain Bolt and USC star Adoree' Jackson got to meet

Texas QB downplays talk of infighting within team

Miami's Twitter account bombarded by FSU fans

Six of the biggest NFL disappointments this season

Arrieta-Cole, objectively one of best playoff matchups ever

The weakest undefeated team

The controversy and numbers behind the 'CONCACAF Cup'

Belichick: Patriots use rulebook to ‘maximize our opportunities’

Bronson Arroyo’s former assistant arrested for allegedly selling pitcher’s boat illegally

Jets coach Bowles’ sweet tooth lands him cookie care package

Report: CC Sabathia may have been drinking around clubhouse

Roddy White: I want to catch passes

Utah, Cal, and the problem with Pac-12 parity

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Arrieta-Cole, objectively one of best playoff matchups ever

The controversy and numbers behind the 'CONCACAF Cup'

Why the Thunder starters need to stay healthy

Roddy White: I want to catch passes

Five questions about the 2015 AL Wild Card game

Bowling Green State coach saves motorist from serious injury

Bills defenders: Odell Beckham Jr. is a prima donna

Lifelong Yankees fan disses Alex Rodriguez in obituary

Trail Blazers honor Umpqua Community College victims

CC Sabathia and the humanity of athletes

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker