What we learned on Tuesday in the NBA
Here’s what we learned on a night where Washington was rocked to its core — with another Wizards loss:
C.J. McCollum goes Buck huntin’.
The Trail Blazers got a great win Tuesday, beating Milwaukee in Portland behind 40 points from C.J. McCollum. He also had six assists, five rebounds, four steals and one pair of broken ankles.
McCollum’s night was the 12th 40-plus game of the season (his teammate Damian Lillard is the only player with two of them so far this year).
Milwaukee has a showdown with the Golden State on Thursday night in Oakland, and this might’ve been a little bit of a lookahead game. But at this point, anyone who doesn’t give the Trail Blazers full attention is asking for trouble.
Portland, one of the favorites to fall out of the playoffs in the West, seem to have picked up right where they left off last regular season. They play hard, they have a great homecourt advantage and they have two guards who can explode for a lot of points in a hurry.
And the numbers are even better. They’ve got the third-best offense in the league and the fourth-rated defense. That would suggest that they’re a contender.
The samples are small — and the taste of last year’s first-round sweep is still strong, but it’s hard to imagine them not figuring in the playoff race.
Could Chandler be any more of an upgrade?
Veteran center Tyson Chandler cleared waivers and signed with the Lakers on Tuesday, giving them a viable back-up center that they didn’t really have on the roster.
Chandler’s best days are well in the past, and the Lakers will try and maximize whatever he has left in small doses.
His signing, though, doesn’t feel like a long-term solution for their defensive problems. They still don’t have a versatile defender in the frontcourt (until LeBron decides it’s time) to handle in-between big men, a role Julius Randle would’ve been perfect for.
He’ll be in the rotation sooner than later, and if he can buy some time to ease JaVale McGee’s workload, that’s good enough.
Miles Bridges with the hammer of Thor.
Are the Wizards really this bad?
Washington lost in Dallas on Tuesday, Luka Doncic had another good game, but the bigger story is the Wizards’ continued stumble through the first month of the season. They’re 2-8, have the third-worst net rating in the NBA ahead of the Phoenix Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and they’re one of the worst rebounding teams in the league.
There’s increasing chatter that maybe this group has run its course and one of their top guys — John Wall, Bradley Beal or Otto Porter Jr. — might have to go.
Their next five games are against Eastern Conference teams, no one better than the Miami Heat, and if they continue to pile up losses, they might not have much choice but to start over.
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