Wizards get hot from 3-point territory to beat Trail Blazers
WASHINGTON (AP) Determined not to give the Portland Trail Blazers’ elite guards any feel-good shots, the Washington Wizards knocked down a few of their own and got rolling.
Bradley Beal scored 25 points and John Wall had 24 as the Wizards took a page out of the Trail Blazers’ playbook by hitting 13 3-pointers in a comfortable 120-101 victory on Monday afternoon.
Washington, which relies on the 3-point shot less than almost any other NBA team, made 9 of 13 3-pointers in a 75-point first half and was 13 of 23 in the game.
”When we play defense and get rebounds and get out in transition, teams (have) to collapse when I’m penetrating,” said Wall, who was 10 of 17 from the floor. ”We moved the ball very well, and guys were knocking down shots and shooting with confidence.”
Confidence came from a 4 of 5 start and a 10-0 lead as Beal was hot early. He and Wall outplayed Portland’s Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who Wizards coach Scott Brooks said combined to be as good as any backcourt in the league.
Lillard led the Blazers with 22 points and McCollum had 12, but they combined to shoot 11 of 29 from the floor.
”Just staying down on his pump fakes, making it tough for him, using my length to disturb him and just making sure I keep him in front of me because he’s one of the quickest guards in the league,” said Wizards guard Kelly Oubre, whose 18 points were one shy of his career high.
The Wizards led by as many as 30 on the way to their 12th consecutive home victory and their fourth win in five games. They limited the Blazers to 8 of 26 shooting from beyond the arc, part of which was self-inflicted.
”I thought our whole team struggled offensively,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. ”We didn’t pass and move. We didn’t do things that make us a good offensive basketball team.”
Washington did plenty of things to look like a good offensive basketball team, and Brooks was particularly proud of his team’s ball movement that helped put the game out of reach.
”I think early in the game when guys get good looks and they see the ball go in, they get confident, they start believing,” Lillard said. ”Later in the game when we started to contest shots and have more of a presence, it didn’t really impact them because they had already seen the ball go in three or four times on the perimeter.”
When Marcin Gortat’s layup with 4:24 left in the third quarter made it 95-65, Stotts had enough and pulled his starting five because he didn’t think the game was going anywhere.
”He’s the coach,” Lillard said. ”He took us out of the game, and that was it.”
McCollum’s streak of consecutive games with 25-plus points ended at eight. Beal tried to take McCollum off his game early by being physical, and foul pressure mounted.
”We were getting our heads beat in, we didn’t execute our offense, I got some fouls early (and) the game got out of hand,” McCollum said.
Wearing a shirt with the message: ”His dream inspired the world. Never stop dreaming,” Beal took the microphone to address the crowd of 17,395 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Brooks said he always stops by the MLK Memorial during his walks around the National Mall, and Stotts said about half the team went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture after practice Monday.
Trail Blazers: McCollum became the eighth player to score 1,000 points this season, joining Russell Westbrook, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant and Isaiah Thomas. … F Maurice Harkless, who was questionable with a left calf injury, was 0 of 5 with no points.
Wizards: Improved to 10-2 when F Otto Porter has at least three 3-pointers.. … Their last 12-game home winning streak came in 1989 as the Bullets. … F Markieff Morris had 17 points and 13 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
Trail Blazers: Visit the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.
Wizards: Look to extend their home winning streak to 13 when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.