The Wizards travel to the Rose Garden on Valentine’s Day hoping to break the hearts of the Portland Trail Blazers and win their second game in a row on the road.
The Wizards have failed to win two consecutive games on the road since April 3, 2011 when they beat the Charlotte Bobcats after beating the Jazz in Utah six days prior. The Wizards beat the Pistons in Detroit on Sunday to improve their record to 2-10 on the road this season and 6-22 overall. Their only other road win came against Charlotte on January 28.
Portland is 11-3 at home this season, but just 15-13 overall. 37-year-old Marcus Camby, the team leader in blocked shots and rebounds, said he should be ready for Tuesday’s game after leaving Saturday’s game against the Mavericks early with a bruised right ankle.
The Wizards will look to slow down LaMarcus Aldridge who averaged 19 points and 10.5 rebounds in the two meetings against the Wizards last season and is averaging 23.3 points per game this year. Trevor Booker will likely draw the match-up against Aldridge Tuesday. Booker has the strength to match Aldridge, but stands just 6-foot-8 compared to Aldridge at 6-foot-11.
The Wizards need to use some of the same tough defense they used in Detroit if they hope to slow down Portland who rank 6th in the league with 98.1 points per game. The Wizards had nine blocked shots Sunday in Detroit and forced 19 turnovers on their way to a 21 point victory, their biggest of the season.
The Rose Garden is a notoriously tough place for road teams. If the Wizards hope to win they cannot afford to start off slow or go long stretches without a basket and let the crowd take over the game. The Wizards have struggled to score in the halfcourt this year, but are second in the league in fast break points. If they can force turnovers and get out in transition they have a chance to score fast and not let the game out of reach. Portland is top ten in the league, giving up only 14.1 turnovers per game, but have turned the ball over almost 17 times per game in their last three. They are 1-2 over that stretch.
JaVale McGee will have to be a big part of the effort if he is matched up against the 37-year-old Camby or back-up Kurt Thomas, who is 39-years-old. JaVale had two blocks and eight dunks against Detroit Sunday. He was able to change a lot of shots around the basket and the Pistons shot just 32.6% from the field.
The game tips off at 10 P.M. on NBATV. You can follow along with the game on Twitter by following @cooooooookiee