To begin this four-game road trip, John Wall said it would be the defining stretch of the season for the Wizards, who entered it four games over .500. After Thursday's loss at the Portland Trail Blazers, they'll be fortunate just to break even.
The Wizards (35-33), playing without Marcin Gortat for the first time this season, started strong at Moda Center but faded late as they slipped in the East playoff seedings.The Charlotte Bobcats are the seventh seed, one spot ahead of Washington, at 33-36. They have two games left on this West coast trip.
Wall led the way with 24 points on 8-for-18 shooting and a game-high 14 assists. Bradley Beal had 18 points but only shot 6-for-18. No other starter had more than Trevor Ariza's 15 points and only two players among the reserves scored when the game was in reach. Drew Gooden came off the bench to continue his hot streak with 18 points on 6-for-13 shooting. He also tied Ariza with a team-high nine rebounds.
Portland (45-24), which had lost 100-90 in D.C. last month, had 51 points from its starting backcourt of Damian Lillard (23) and Wes Matthews (28).
Turning point: The Wizards surrendered a six-point lead, allowing the Blazers to go on an 8-0 run going into halftime, and they trailed 53-51. Portland continued to streak to begin the third quarter using three-pointers from Lillard, Nicolas Batum, Dorrell Wright and Matthews to extend it double digits. Portland entered the fourth with an 86-73 lead and kept it throughout.
Key stat: Portland made 6 of 11 three-pointers in the third quarter.
Stepping in: Seraphin had only played once since Feb. 23 because of swelling in his right knee. He made his first start of the season at center because Marcin Gortat's sore lower right back. Gortat tried to warm up before the game but couldn't go. It was his first missed game of the season. Seraphin had his best game of the season when the Blazers came to D.C. last month when he scored 19 points. He only had four points on 2-for-7 shooting in 19 minutes this time.
Wounded knee: Martell Webster banged knees with Matthews late in the second quarter and appeared to be in doubt of returning. Webster, who has had issues with a left ankle sprain since the preseason and more recently lower back tightness that kept him out, was able to shake it off. He played 28 minutes but only contributed eight points on 3-for-9 shooting.
Up next: The Wizards left immediately after the game for Los Angeles, where they meet the Lakers on Friday (CSN, 10:30 p.m. ET).