Wizards (9-33) at Portland (25-17)
Wizards starters: Mike James, Caron Butler, Dominic McGuire, Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche.
Trail Blazers: Sergio Rodriguez, Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum.
Refs: Steve Javie, Scott Wall, Zach Zarba.
Line: Portland by 9 1/2.
-A quick word on Portland: if you are ever out here and in need of a good breakfast/brunch spot, go to Mother's on Stark. Trust me.....
-The Wizards have lost three straight here at the Rose Garden (This place and San Antonio are the only NBA arenas where I've never covered a Wiz win).
-When the teams met on Dec. 3 at Verizon Center, Portland erased a nine-point deficit to pull out a 98-92 win. Roy led the way that night with 22 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter. Jamison scored 22 points to lead the Wizards.
-DeShawn Stevenson, who has missed the last 12 games with a lower back issue, will be in uniform but probably not play according to interim coach Ed Tapscott. Tapscott said he wants to see Stevenson get through a couple of practices first. The problem is that the team hasn't had much time to practice and won't have much time in coming days either. The team won't practice tomorrow after getting back to Washington around six in the morning but will have a shootaround before Monday's game against Phoenix.
-Former Wizard Steve Blake is out for Portland (right shoulder).
-Obviously, no game is easy for the Wizards but these getaway games at the end of a long road trip can be particularly tricky so it will be interesting to see how the Wizards bring it early. The Blazers haven't played since a home loss to Cleveland on Wednesday so they should be very fresh.
-Judging by Tapscott's comments following the loss to the Lakers the other night, it's safe to assume that rookie center JaVale McGee earned himself another chance to play extended minutes. It's a good thing because the Blazers have a huge and athletic front linne with Oden and Aldridge plus Joel Przbilla off the bench.
In the first meeting, McGee posted six points on three-of-seven shooting with seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals in just under 18 minutes. However, he also got into early foul trouble.
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