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Lillard Hits for 40, Leads Blazers over Wizards

The Portland Trail Blazers blitzed the Washington Wizards out of the gate Sunday and didn’t look back, taking a 20-point first-quarter lead and cruising to a wire-to-wire 119-109 road victory.

Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard led all scorers with 40 points along with seven rebounds, and backcourt mate CJ McCollum contributed 25 points and seven rebounds.

Within the first nine minutes of the game Sunday, the Trail Blazers (11-5) exploded to a 32-12 lead and shot 73 percent from the floor.

Late in the third quarter, Washington trailed by 29 points which led head coach Scott Brooks to call the overall performance “embarrassing.”

“We just have to play with more enthusiasm, more effort [and] more energy. It’s embarrassing,” he said.

He did praise the reserves who trimmed the Portland lead to single digits at 115-107 with 49.7 seconds left.

Kelly Oubre Jr., Austin Rivers and Tomas Satoransky played the entire fourth quarter. The only starter to play in the quarter was Otto Porter Jr., and he clocked only 1½ minutes. Washington outscored Portland 39-28 in that quarter.

“I try to bring consistent effort each and every day,” said Oubre, who played nearly 30 minutes and scored 19 points on 7-of-14, or 50 percent, from the floor. “A lot of guys do the same. Sometimes there’s ebbs and flows. It kind of hurts us sometimes, but the guys who came into the game were very excited to come in and play.”

Brooks wouldn’t say whether he would make a change in the starting lineup. Markieff Morris played 19 minutes and scored three points with four personal fouls. Bradley Beal, who recorded five fouls, scored 12 points but played less than 27 minutes.

“The guys who were in at the end of the game played their [butts] off,” Beal said. “They played the way we are supposed to play. I had five fouls. I wasn’t really playing as much as I wanted to.”

Washington (5-11) shot 10-for-21 from the free-throw line. In comparison, Portland converted 30 of 35 free throws. In addition, Portland outrebounded Washington 53-43.

Wizards center Dwight Howard left the bench and walked into the locker room in the first half and didn’t return to the game, playing less than eight minutes. Brooks said he reaggravated a gluteal injury that kept him out the entire preseason and the first seven games of the regular season.

Meanwhile, Wizards point guard John Wall had a short but direct message about the lack of foul calls.

“I’m running out of patience with the referees, I’ll tell you that,” said Wall, who led the team in scoring with 24 points.

With the win, Portland split the season series with Washington, which defeated the Trail Blazers 125-124 (OT) in Portland on Oct. 22.

Washington completes a five game homestand Tuesday against the Los Angeles Clippers (10-5).

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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