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Josh Hart’s Trounce Wizards Behind 44 Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Washington Wizards on Saturday night by a final score of 127-118. Led by Josh Hart, Portland had a dream night on offense, building a huge halftime lead and not turning against the road-weary Wizards. It was a huge confidence boost for a team that had lost half a dozen in a row, most of them in embarrassing fashion.

If you missed the action, you can check out our happy, happy, quarter-by-quarter recap here. After doing that, here are some more victory observations.

deer attack

Josh Hart had the match of his life tonight. Let’s talk about his defense first. The Blazers have been sorely lacking in this category for weeks now. They are still struggling to get close to the three-point arc tonight. But everywhere inside the arc they were active. This attack was anchored by Hart. He kept his head, stayed ahead of his man, helped other commoners, and forced 4 interceptions.

That explanation foreshadows the numbers that will get all the national attention: a career-high 44 points on 15-21 shooting, 6-9 from range. Yes, he was on a hot streak, but he also went STRONG in Washington all night. , readers…it had it all and more.

The best part of Hart’s effort was that he stayed in control throughout. The temptation to fill everyone’s shoes must have been great, but he mostly stayed in attack and never seemed to force it. He collected 6 assists along with all his other fancy stats.

In short, Hart had one of the best efforts of any Trail Blazers player for the entire season. His offensive efforts will be eclipsed by star guards, but when it comes to an overall effort, only Jusuf Nurkic’s best outings getting closer.

Threesy-Peasy

We’ve said all season — and for years, really — that watching the three-point drop will tell you how the Trail Blazers offense is going. It was a happy statement when Portland fielded 4 of 5 starters who were legit arc threats. Nowadays… not so much. Let’s forget the percentage for a moment. They shot 11-30, 36.7 percent, tonight. That’s a decent number. But your heart is in your throat every time a Blazers player stops for a three these days. Each attempt is an adventure. It’s not great.

McLemore Falls

Earlier in the year, Ben McLemore looked like a legitimate threat to earn a place in the rotation, perhaps an outside contender to return next season. This fell apart as the season got older. McLemore doesn’t hit all three well. He takes on more and more of them solo, looking awkward. He went 0-5 from long range tonight with a goose egg from the field overall.

Eubankable

Drew Eubanks did a masterful job at center tonight He set the tone early, scoring on close range shots, switching to shooters when guarded and patrolling the lane for rebounds like a legit NBA center – no, accomplished . provided a center point around which Hart and company revolved. The Blazers are getting incredible value from Eubanks right now. He scored a season-high 20 points on 9-14 shooting with 12 rebounds and 3 assists for 39 minutes.

Say Watford?

Trendon Watford completed Portland’s trio of super scorers tonight. He had 27 points on an 11-16 shot. He made getting to the basket as easy as a trick or treat.

Simplified notation

With a final total of 127 points, you might suspect Portland got some easy points against the Wizards. You would be right. The Blazers had 28 quick break points (+20 on Washington), 22 second chance points (+9) and 26 points at the foul line (+6). They also won the points in the paint battle 70 -42, shooting 51.6% from the field in the process.

Remember the days when Portland couldn’t score at the break for anything? When every shot came after a half-court set and was most likely going to be a three or a jumper? The Blazers have been begging for easy buckets for years.

Now they have them, ironically just when those other talent/skill based moves have all but evaporated. They still don’t have the combo. But that’s a problem for another night. enough for victory.

following

The score of the box

Portland will hit the road again, facing the Atlanta Hawks on Monday at 4:30 p.m. Pacific.

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