Washington Wizards vs. Portland Trail Blazers: an unexpected yet electric rivalry

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Bijan Todd
·4 min read
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Wizards vs. Trail Blazers: an unexpected yet electric rivalry originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

For some reason, the basketball gods love when the Washington Wizards and Portland Trail Blazers face off.

Since the first meeting of the two squads back in 1970 (a four-point victory for the Blazers over the Baltimore Bullets), it seems as though every matchup has been headline-worthy in one way or another. Star players, video game-caliber scoring and controversial overtime decisions are only part of the history between the clubs.

In honor of the Wizards’ second and final meeting with the Trail Blazers this season on Saturday at 10 p.m., let’s review some of the recent history in this unexpected rivalry.

Feb. 2, 2021: a 132-121 Trail Blazers victory in D.C.

This was a tough one for Wizards fans to stomach in the most recent meeting between the Wizards and Blazers. Bradley Beal’s 37-point night and Russell Westbrook’s triple-double weren’t enough to secure a W. Damian Lillard dropped 32 in the Blazers’ win on a night that saw Rui Hachimura put up a season high 24 points off 10-12 shooting. Six different Trail Blazers would score in double figures en route to Portland’s fourth-straight win against Washington.

Nov. 18, 2018: Lillard drops 40 points

There’s not much opponents can do when the perennial All-Star point guard decides it’s ‘Dame Time.’ Unfortunately for the Wizards, ‘Dame Time’ in this game lasted the whole 48 minutes. Despite John Wall scoring 24 points of his own, Lillard put up 40 over 29 shots, despite just going 3-10 from long range in the 119-109 Trail Blazers win.

Related: How to watch Wizards at Trail Blazers

Oct. 22, 2018: Markieff and Brad combine for 53 points in OT win

Former Wizards big man Markieff Morris had arguably his best game for Washington in this 125-124 overtime victory in the Pacific Northwest. Draining a career-high six 3-pointers, Morris iced the game with a long ball in overtime to put the Wizards up by four. He scored 28 on the night, supplemented by Bradley Beal’s 25-point performance to give Washington what would end up being their most recent victory against the Blazers. But don’t worry, this wasn’t Morris’ only dramatic moment in an overtime in Portland.

Dec. 5, 2017: Beal puts up a career-high in a dominant Wizards victory

In the second of three consecutive notable games in Portland for the Wizards, Beal put the league on notice. Since this game, he would score a new career highs in points four times, but a 51-point night gave Washington a 106-92 win in the Moda Center. Lillard would score 30 in the Blazers’ loss.

Mar. 11, 2017: Did Morris step on the line?

Perhaps the most eye-catching of Wizards-Blazers matchups over the last few years, this was the second time Markieff Morris stole the spotlight in a 125-124 overtime win in Portland. Sinking a mid-range perimeter jumper to put Washington up by one with 0.4 seconds remaining, Morris seemed to have put the game away for the Wizards. Indeed he did, as that basket would count, despite Morris having clearly stepped over the sideline right before taking the shot. The officials deemed the play not reviewable, and the Wizards would go on to win. See for yourself:

Mar. 8, 2016: Lillard scores 41 in an OT win for Portland

Yet another overtime decision—this time in favor of the Trail Blazers. Portland would snap a three-game losing streak with this win over the Wizards at home. Ramon Sessions would lead Washington with 21 points, but Lillard’s 41-point, 11-assist night handed the home side a 116-109 win, despite the Wizards being up by two with 15 seconds left.

On Saturday night, the Wizards and the Trail Blazers will duel each other for the 117th time. In the all-time series, Portland’s got 61 wins to Washington’s 55. Given what’s happened in the most recent meetings of the two coastal squads, it wouldn’t be surprising to see sparks fly once again at Moda Center.

Tune in to NBC Sports Washington at 9 p.m. Saturday for full coverage of the Wizards' next game against the Trail Blazers