A beaming Josh Hart didn’t mince words after playing the best basketball of his life.
Leading the Portland Trail Blazers to a 127-118 win over the Washington Wizards, breaking a depressingly historic six-game losing streak in the process, was definitely what’s most important. But considering the last points of his career night came with 6:49 left in the fourth quarter, Hart couldn’t help but want for a bit more individual glory.
“I definitely wish I got 50. I’m not sure when I’m gonna have another night like this,” he said after the game, laughing. “I’m gonna tell Trendon [Watford] next time he gotta pass me the ball a little more at the end of the game.”
Hart’s failure to score in the last few minutes of Saturday’s game, to be clear, wasn’t actually due to Watford and the Blazers freezing him out of the offense.
He was Portland’s focal point from the opening tip against Washington, spearheading a relentless transition attack and aggressive, active halfcourt offense by putting his head down and getting to the rim. Hart had the long ball going, too, connecting on 6-of-9 from deep after doing some additional work with his shooting coach leading up to the game.
What really stopped Hart from getting halfway to 100 points was the extent of his own success. After his four-point play midway through the fourth quarter put the Blazers back up 15, stanching Washington’s already-fading momentum, Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. started sending automatic double-teams at Hart high up the floor in a last-ditch comeback attempt.
"Barack Obama THAT 44!" 😂 @iamjustise | @trendonw | @JoshHart pic.twitter.com/2EatO6iBBk
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 13, 2022
Hart, true to form, made the right play instead of forcing the issue, leaving to a standing ovation from an adoring Moda Center crowd with Portland up 127-112 and just over 90 seconds left on the game clock. He’d have to settle for 44 points, an easy career-high, on 15-of-21 shooting overall and 6-of-9 from the three-point line.
“I’m blessed. I’m happy with 44. You know, I got the Barack Obama, so I’m happy with that,” Hart said. “More happy that we got the win.”