NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Portland 29 39 26 21 115
Washington 24 33 23 30 110
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 PM CT22:00 , January 15, 2022
Capital One Arena, Washington, District of Columbia  Attendance: 15,124

Kyle Kuzma leads Wizards into matchup vs. depleted Blazers

According to STATS
According to STATS

Portland Trail Blazers at Washington Wizards

  1. The Trail Blazers have won five of their last six games at Washington, including the last four in a row. This is Portland's second-longest winning streak at Washington after winning seven in a row at the Wizards from 1998 to 2004.
  2. The Trail Blazers, who opened a six-game road trip on Thursday in Denver, are an NBA-worst 2-14 (.125) away from home this season after going 22-14 (.611) on the road last season, third-best in the NBA. The drop of .486 is on pace to be the largest decrease in road winning percentage from one season to the next in NBA history.
  3. Rookie C.J. Elleby led the Blazers with seven assists in 27 minutes in their loss to the Nuggets on Thursday. Elleby had recorded just nine assists in his first 187 minutes in the NBA spanning 21 games.
  4. The Wizards have won three straight games, all by single-digit margins. An NBA-high 17 of the Wizards 22 wins this season have come by single digits, including 12 of their last 13 victories.
  5. Washington's last two wins have come with Bradley Beal in health and safety protocols. The team is 6-2 without Beal this season after going just 2-10 without him over the previous two seasons combined.
  6. The Wizards are third in the NBA in paint scoring, averaging 51.3 points in the paint per game this season. Portland has the worst interior field goal percentage defense in the league, with opponents shooting 59.3 percent in the paint against them.

Kyle Kuzma is exceeding expectations for the Washington Wizards, who bring a three-game winning streak into Saturday's matchup against the visiting Portland Trail Blazers.

The fifth-year pro is in the midst of the best stretch of his career, averaging 23.8 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 52.4 percent from the field over his last 11 games.

Kuzma had 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in Wednesday's 112-106 victory over the Orlando Magic, finishing one assist shy of his first career triple-double.

Kuzma was acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers during the offseason and has emerged as a clear No. 2 scorer for Washington, which could be without star Bradley Beal (health and safety protocol) for the third straight game on Saturday.

"He can be a really good player in this league," Beal said of Kuzma. "With his size, his versatility. He has a mismatch every single night. His IQ is super high. I think he doesn't get a lot of credit for that. He's a willing learner. He accepts criticism. He doesn't think too highly of himself. He wants to win. You can see that."

The Wizards continue their eight-game homestand with a meeting against Portland, which fell to 2-14 on the road with Thursday's 140-108 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

The undermanned Blazers played without Damian Lillard (abdominal tendinopathy), CJ McCollum (right lung), Norman Powell (health and safety protocol), Larry Nance Jr. (right knee), Anfernee Simons (personal reasons) and Cody Zeller (right knee).

Lillard underwent successful surgery Thursday to repair an abdominal injury and will be re-evaluated in six weeks.

Dennis Smith Jr. started in place of Simons in Thursday's loss and had 17 points to go with eight assists, two rebounds and a steal in 36 minutes. The Blazers trailed by as many as 37 points in the fourth quarter.

"You just want to try to execute your stuff," said Portland coach Chauncey Billups. "We know what we have at the time, it is what it is. But you just want to try to go out and kind of execute your stuff. It was just OK. We had some good moments, but just OK. I thought we had a couple guys trying to do a little too much."

Simons could return as soon as Saturday, while McCollum, Nance Jr. and Powell are all expected to rejoin the team within the next two weeks.

The Trail Blazers face another tough matchup against Washington, which is getting back to full strength after battling a coronavirus outbreak.

The Wizards are also excited about the return of center Thomas Bryant, who returned to action on Wednesday after missing over a year with an ACL injury.

Bryant had six points, one rebound and one assist in 11 minutes against Orlando.

"He looked good," Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. "I know it's tough when the minutes are somewhat segmented and you don't get that long stretch. But just to have him out there in a live game, getting a feel for it, getting back to that rhythm. It was good for him. I was pleased with how he performed and where he is right now.

Unseld Jr. will miss Saturday's contest after entering the NBA's health and safety protocol. Assistant coach Pat Delany will assume acting head coaching duties.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 14, 2022

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