NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, March 20th (All times Eastern)
Washington Wizards (35-32) at Portland Trail Blazers (44-24), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers will try to close out a homestand on a successful note Thursday night when they welcome the Washington Wizards to the Moda Center.
The Blazers split the first two of this short residency with a loss to the Golden State Warriors and an overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.
Portland is fifth in the Western Conference just 1 1/2 ahead of the Golden State Warriors and 1 1/2 behind the Houston Rockets. The Blazers have been without LaMarcus Aldridge for the last three games.
That's why the Blazers can be happy about their recent victory, but it came in an extra session against the NBA's worst team.
"I'm glad I'm standing here after a win instead of a loss," said head coach Terry Stotts. "Give Milwaukee a lot of credit. They've had a long season. They played a great game and certainly don't want to take anything away from what they did.
"We understand that we were very fortunate to win the game tonight."
Wesley Matthews scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Trail Blazers to a 120-115 overtime win over Milwaukee. Matthews finished 5-of-7 shooting from distance, including a key 3-pointer late in the extra session.
Mo Williams added 23 points and Nicolas Batum narrowly missed out on a triple- double with 21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Trail Blazers, winners in two of their last three games.
Damian Lillard finished with 20 points despite going 1-for-11 from 3-point range and Robin Lopez had 15 points and 14 rebounds in the win.
The Blazers hit the road for five straight against Eastern Conference opponents. Portland's 20-4 record against the East is the best mark of any West team against the East this season.
The Wizards opened a four-game western trip with an overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings. Washington fell, 117-111, and will visit the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets on this odyssey.
The Wiz outscored the Kings, 54-40, over the middle two quarters, but it wasn't enough.
Marcin Gortat contributed a 19-point, 14-rebound double-double for the Wizards, while Bradley Beal also scored 19 and John Wall tallied 14 points with eight assists before fouling out in the extra session.
Drew Gooden added 18 points off the bench for Washington, which had its two- game winning streak snapped.
"To turn it around, go up by 11 points and give the game away, it hurts," said Gooden "They executed down the stretch and we couldn't get any rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins is a load."
The Wizards beat the Blazers in Washington this season and have taken three straight and six of the last nine meetings. Washington has won two in a row in Portland.
03/20 10:28:09 ET