Yep, that just happened.
The Portland Trail Blazers lost to the Washington Wizards, 84-82 at Verizon Center in D.C.
That the Wizards were 0-12 on the season heading into the game meant nothing against a foe with virtually no bench production to speak of -- a trend that has become alarming as Portland has lost three in a row and fallen to 6-9 overall.
Thing is, a winless Washington team really should be the closest thing to an automatic win as Portland is going to see this season. The talent is certainly there.
The bench production is not.
Portland got four total points from its bench on Wednesday night -- two from rookie center Meyers Leonard and two from rookie guard Will Barton. Three others -- Jared Jeffries, Ronnie Price and Sasha Pavlovic -- got into the game but didn't score or produce much of anything worthwhile, really.
Leonard did have seven rebounds in his 14 minutes, so Portland had that going for it.
But losing this game is a new low in what has been an up-and-down season for the young, transitioning Blazers. Not only did Washington come into the game without a win, but the Wizards went scoreless for nearly 7 minutes of the fourth quarter and still came out ahead.
That shouldn't happen.
Wesley Matthews had one of his disappearing acts in this one, scoring all of six points in 35 minutes while shooting 2-for-10 from the field. Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum each played at least 43 minutes and each scored 20 points; LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 and seven rebounds, and J.J. Hickson had another impressive double-double, with 15 points and 19 rebounds.
Under normal circumstances, Matthews is allowed an off-game here and there -- heck, he hasn't had many of them this season, scoring in double-digits all but two games, with Wednesday's loss being one of them, and averaging 16.8 so far.
But these aren't normal circumstances right now for Portland. There's literally nobody to come off the bench and provide a scoring punch when the starting shooting guard is a non-factor. There's no spark among the reserves, and no consistency with which coach Terry Stotts has been deploying them.
Portland hit 34.9 percent from the field and connected on just 12-of-18 free-throw attempts, while Washington shot 43.7 percent and hit 17-of-19 from the line.
Trevor Arizona (14 points) and Kevin Seraphin (10) were the big scorers among the starting five, but the main difference for the Wizards was Jordan Crawford, who came off the bench to score 19, including a key bucket with just a couple of minutes left. Crawford led a group of six reserves who saw playing time, five of them with 16 minutes or more, and scored a total of 46 points.
Compare that with five Portland reserves who played a combined 42 minutes and scored a whopping four points, and you get a pretty good picture of just how the Blazers helped Washington get its first win of the season.
Adam Sparks has followed the Portland Trail Blazers since the early 1980s, and has written about the team as a freelancer since 2009.
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