Mar 20, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) shoots the ball over Portland Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard (11) at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Wizards: Tough Loss In Portland

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Washington Wizards

Mar 20, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Washington Wizards guard Andre Miller (24) reacts after being fouled against the Portland Trail Blazers in the first half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards trotted in to Portland against a team without their best player and came out with another loss on their four-game road trip, losing to the Trail Blazers 116-103 Thursday night.

The Wizards had to play this one with out starting center Marcin Gortat.  Gortat injured his back dunking in warm ups (#SoWizards) and was unable to play.  The Wizards had the upper hand down low with the Blazers missing LaMarcus Aldridge, but with Gortat out that was neutralized and the Blazers were just better everywhere else.

The Wizards started off game on the back of their All-Star point guard John Wall.  Wall totaled 13 points and three assists in the first quarter.  The Wizards got to a slow start getting down 9-4, but found a rhythm through the first quarter and ended the quarter on a 10-4 run to take a 28-23 lead going into the second quarter.

Wall scored eight of the points during the run, including two three-pointers to continue his hot three-point shooting as of late.  In the five prior games to this one Wall has made two or more threes in each game while shooting over 50 percent from beyond the arc.

The Wizards had a solid second quarter.  They played well for the first 10 minutes of the quarter, having a 49-43 lead with 2:34 to go before half, but then Washington fell apart.  They scored two points over those final minutes and gave up the lead.  The Wizards could have had a nice lead heading into the locker room for halftime, but their sloppiness and poor defense to end the half allowed the Blazers to be up two.

It started off with Martell Webster closing out on Wes Matthews like he was asleep and Matthews gliding in for a baseline dunk.  Matthews then knocked down two free throws on their next possession.  Wall did not help the late half meltdown.  He took a terrible contested jump shot that led to a Damian Lillard leak out dunk.  Then Wall lost the ball on the ensuing possession and Robin Lopez dropped in an easy layup.  On the final possession, Lillard knocked down two free throws with 0.5 seconds left in the half after he was fouled on a tip-dunk attempt.  It was a pathetic way to close out the half and it certainly carried over to the third quarter.

The Blazers came out and trounced the Wizards to start the third quarter.  They extended their lead to 11 within two minutes after three quick threes to start the quarter.  The Wizards came out with no energy and just could not find their way back into the game.  Wall tried to will them back in the third quarter, knocking down two consecutive three-pointers to cut the lead to three, but Matthews answered right back with a three of his own. Whenever the Wizards would deliver a punch, the Blazers came back with two more.

It was quite a disappointing performance considering their last loss.  They blew a late lead to the lowly Sacramento Kings and lost in overtime on Tuesday.  I was expecting the Wizards to come out with a sense of urgency and be excited to grab a quality win, but they were flat and just didn’t have it.

Wall led the Wizards with 24 points, including five three-pointers and 14 assists.  Unfortunately, he received little help besides one veteran.  Drew Gooden continued his surprisingly good play scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds.  Over the last three games he has been averaging 20 points and eight rebounds.  His addition to the roster has been a pleasant surprise to everyone.  In this one, the Wizards needed more from Bradley Beal, who scored 18 points on 6-of-18 shooting.  A more effective night from Beal could have opened up the offense a little more and not put so much pressure on Wall.  With Gortat and Nene out, Beal needed to have a solid game and he was unable to tonight.

The Wizards will continue play at the Los Angeles Lakers tonight and look to snap their two-game losing streak.

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