The Washington Wizards are coming off their best win of the season and one of the more exciting games of the season thus far. They were able to win a shootout against the Nets after trailing by five points with 12.3 seconds left in the game. The Portland Trailblazers are coming off an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. The Blazers gave up 134 points and will now have to travel to Washington for back-to-back road games today (8pm ET Tuesday; TV: Live on NBCS-DC & NBCS-NW).
The Wizards are only the ninth team in NBA history to comeback and win when trailing by five or more points in the final 10 seconds of the game. In the last 25 seasons, teams are now 9-23,498 in the spot the Wizards faced Sunday night. They desperately needed a win and finally looked like a competitive NBA team thanks to a handful of starters returning from the COVID list.
The Wizards were able to take it to a Nets’ defense that leaves much to be desired. They put up a season high 149 points with guards Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal contributing 41 and 37 respectively. The Nets rank 27th out of 30 in average points allowed per game (117.7) and have been even worse over their last three games (134.0). The Wizards rank last in average points allowed per game (121.8) and are 10-6 to the over so far on the season. These are two teams to keep in mind for future looks at games to go over the total.
Portland has been equally as bad on the defensive end to start the season. They rank 25th in points allowed per game (115.9) and were just manhandled by Milwaukee. The Bucks put up 134 points and only got 18 points from their leading scorer Giannis Antetokounmpo. Veteran guard Jrue Holiday led the way with 22 points. Portland was once again without one of their best players, guard CJ McCollum who is out at least one month with a foot injury. McCollum is second on the team in average minutes, points, and assists per game. His loss has been massive and hurts the team on both ends of the floor. They have lost four out of their last six games without McCollum and rely entirely too much on star guard Damian Lillard without a viable second scoring option.
This is a must-watch game and features some of the most exciting backcourt players in the NBA. Damian Lillard will be going up against the explosive tandem of Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal. Beal currently leads the entire NBA in points per game (34.9) and Lillard is in third (29.6). I expect this to be a high-scoring affair where defense is optional. The question is do Lillard and Portland have enough firepower to keep up with Washington without their second scoring option?
The Wizards rank 3rd in average points per game (116.8) and the Blazers rank 6th (115.0). With two strong offenses and two defenses that are some of the worst in the league I initially looked at the over. My main concern is with the undermanned Blazers having tired legs from back-to-back road contests. They were without forward Derrick Jones once again after leaving last Thursday’s game. This was his second straight game out and they will be even thinner if he is unable to go against the Wizards. Jones is 4th on the team in average minutes per game (27.4) and contributes 7.4 points per game.
The total is currently sitting at over/under 240.5 points, which felt a little high with how undermanned Portland is currently. I am worried they won’t be able to quite contribute enough to get this over the total. I am more confident in taking the Wizards.
I am going to be playing Washington at -2.5 points as slight home favorites. I love this spot for the Wizards. This is their second straight game at home and they were off on Monday so they should be well rested while their counterparts are playing two days in a row and both games on the road. I think the Blazers will be especially tired and come out a bit flat. The Wizards should win this game comfortably and have back-to-back victories for the first time this season. So our Portland Trail Blazers at Washington Wizards predictions and picks are: