Beal & Westbrook snap Portland’s hot streak, 118-111

by Kevin Nesgoda

The Portland Trail Blazers entered their Saturday night showdown with the Washington Wizards on a six-game win streak after wins over the Magic, 76ers, Cavs, Mavs, Thunder, and Pelicans.

Bradley Beal (37 points on 16/27 FG) and Russell Westbrook (27 points, 13 assists, 11 rebounds) made sure that streak ended.

Game Recap

Washington’s talented backcourt duo of Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook were cutting through Portland’s defense early. The two combined for 38 points on 24 shots in the first half.

Beal kept up his scoring in the third quarter as he took advantage of some lazy transition defense from Portland.

Carmelo Anthony’s first shot of the night was a four-point play off a catch-and-shoot on the wing. He helped the Blazers to a huge 43-point first quarter, led by Enes Kanter’s 10.

Portland’s 12-point lead from the end of the first quarter was short-lived, as Washington blazed a 12-0 run early in the second and cut the lead to two. Anfernee Simons busted the run with a beautiful fading three, but the Wizards would take a 61-55 advantage into halftime.

Down five with five minutes to go, the struggling Blazers found some big plays from the Juniors: Gary Trent and Derrick Jones. The former hit a huge three and forced a turnover off of Westbrook’s foot, while the latter leapt for a monster block on Beal in the lane.

Unfortunately, Beal & Co. sparked a quick 7-0 run to take a nine-point lead with two minutes left.

A chaotic sequence ensued with under a minute remaining, including Dame getting a steal and running into Beal for a bizarre no-call.

MVP Watch

Lillard had an up-and-down night, emphasized by his tough offensive matchup against the 6’8” Rui Hachimura (when he wasn’t getting double-teamed).

After struggling to a 2/13 first-half start from the field, Damian Lillard made four of his first five shots to open up the second half.

La Heem went on to score 23 in the third quarter alone, capped off by a literal logo buzzer beater to end the period.

Dame Time may have come too early, though. His mere six points in the fourth came inside the last two minutes. He finished with 35 and 12 assists, but his performance was somewhat overshadowed by the frustrating physicality used against him and 20 missed shots.

Stats & Notes

Gary Trent Jr.’s third three of the night marked a milestone for the young guard. His 10 consecutive games with at least three made threes ties the Blazers’ franchise record.

With Jusuf Nurkic and Harry Giles inactive, Robert Covington and Melo were forced into minutes at center behind Kanter. RoCo made his presence felt on the defensive end with four blocks.

Davis Bertans entered Saturday’s game making 14 of his last 17 threes, but only managed 2/8 against the Blazers. Unfortunately, those two both came in crucial moments for the Wizards.

Next Up

The Blazers are back on the road for a big battle against the West’s fourth-place Phoenix Suns on Monday at 6pm.

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