Lillard scores 40, leads Trail Blazers past Wizards 119-109
WASHINGTON (AP) — Portland coach Terry Stotts was so pleased by a seven-pass possession capped by a 25-foot jumper by Jake Layman in the first quarter that he replayed the sequence at halftime.
“There’s not a basketball person out there that wouldn’t appreciate — and then you’ve got to make the shot with the shot clock run down,” Stotts said. “But that’s, that was pretty.”
“That’s perfect Blazer basketball. We need more possessions like that,” Lillard said of the Layman shot that gave Portland a 17-point lead.
Jusuf Nurkic had 13 points, 14 rebounds and matched his career high with eight assists for Portland.
The Trail Blazers, coming off a 112-96 loss at Minnesota on Friday, snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 11-5.
John Wall scored 24 points and Kelly Oubre, Jr. added 19 for the Wizards, who slipped to 5-11.
The Trail Blazers started quickly, hitting 7 for 9 shots from 3-point range and taking a 32-12 lead with 3:54 remaining in the first quarter. Washington scored 15 straight and closed to 32-27, but Portland outscored the Wizards 30-14 and led 62-41 at the half.
Lillard scored 13 points in the second quarter and added 18 in the third.
Washington, which trailed by 29 points in the third, cut the deficit to 115-107 with 51 seconds to play.
“We’ve got to just play with more enthusiasm, more effort, more energy,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “That’s embarrassing.”
Wall said that he would try and continue to lead the Wizards, but was limited in what he could do
“You can’t teach effort. You can’t teach heart,” Wall said.
Wizards: Brooks and Oubre were both assessed technical fouls.
Dwight Howard, who missed the first seven games of the season with gluteal soreness, aggravated the injury in the second quarter and was ruled out at halftime after scoring two points and picking up three fouls in seven minutes.
“We decided to sit him out, see how he feels day-to-day,” Brooks said. “We’ll just see how he feels (Monday) and go from there.”
FOURTH QUARTER COMEBACK
Washington outscored Portland 39-28 in the fourth quarter to make the game relatively close.
“Look what happened,” Brooks said. “Guys off the bench. They played with passion, enthusiasm. That’s what you’ve got to do in this league.”
Washington’s starting five played a combined 90 seconds in the fourth quarter, and Brooks was pleased his bench made things slightly better.
“They deserved to play, and they deserved to play more,” Brooks said.
THE REAL BLAZERS?
Lillard and the rest of the Trail Blazers couldn’t stop talking about the first quarter possession.
“If you could have one play and say this is how we want our offense to look, that would be the play,” Lillard said. “I think the fact we had that play happen early showed where our minds were.”
“Hopefully that ends up on some basketball highlight because we went from a good shot, good shot, good opportunity to a great-purpose shot in a full 24 seconds,” veteran swingman Evan Turner said.
NO PATIENCE FOR REFS
Wall was asked if he was running out of patience with trying to deliver a leadership message.
“I’m not really running out of patience with that,” Wall said. “I’m running out of patience with the referees, I’ll tell you that.”
Trail Blazers: Visit the Knicks in the fourth of a five-game road trip on Tuesday
Wizards: Host the Clippers in the final game of a five-game homestand on Tuesday