The Washington Wizards will try to improve upon their 38-28 record tonight when Portland comes to town. The 44-20 Trail Blazers currently hold the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, just a game behind the No. 2 seeded Memphis Grizzlies, whom the Wizards defeated by a score of 107-87 last Thursday night without any of the Grizzlies’ starters.
However, this team will be playing their starters against Washington and it could be one of the toughest tasks that the Wizards will have to face this season. We all know about the stars on the team in point guard Damian Lillard and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, but their secret weapon comes at shooting guard.
When Wesley Matthews is healthy, he is one of the most underrated players in the league, but he is out for the rest of this season due to a torn Achilles. That will obviously be a huge blow for Portland, but his replacement is more than capable of making things happen himself.
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The Blazers acquired Arron Afflalo from the Denver Nuggets, and initially is was just to add some dept to that back court. Due to Matthews’ injury, he will now have to take up a much larger role as the starting shooting guard and considering he has been a starter in every season over the past six years, this is not a new experience for him.
He has averaged 10.4 points per game and has played in 29.2 minutes in his 10 contests here in Portland. He has started the last four games due to Matthews’ injury and will get more and more playing time as the season progresses.
The Wizards have finally started to get back on track after winning five out of seven and stand only one game out of the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. However, they might not want a seed higher than No. 4 anyway and here’s why: If the Cleveland Cavaliers end the season as the number two seed (which it appears they will), then that is likely who the Wizards would face in the second round if they go that far.
However, with a number four seed, the Wizards would face either the 1st seed or the 8th seed. I am thinking a little too far ahead here but it’s definitely something to keep in the back of your mind.
However, the only thing that should be on the minds of these players is tonight’s game. Our job as fans is to delve into and look at the possible scenarios that loom us as we approach playoff time. The players and coaches have to worry about one thing, and that’s winning tonight’s game against Portland.