Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/28/12
WASHINGTON -- Sure, the Wizards remain deep in the NBA's basement, an obvious punch line if an example of overall futility is required. Yet on this night, after opening the season with a dozen straight losses, Washington is home to a winner. Jordan Crawford scored 19 points, and Emeka Okafor sank two free throws with 39 seconds left as the Wizards snapped their 12-game, season-opening losing streak, edging the Portland Trail Blazers 84-82 Wednesday night. Washington's skid was a franchise record for the start of a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets hold the NBA mark for the worst start, 18 losses in a row. "We just broke through the ice," a relieved Wizards coach Randy Wittman said following the team's first victory since April 26, the final game of the 2011-12 season. "I lived in Minnesota for 15, 17 years. That ice was 4-5 feet deep, but it's broken through now." Speaking of ice, Washington went cold during the final nine minutes as it nearly blew the game despite holding a 15-point, fourth quarter lead. The Wizards rode a 17-4 second-half run to a 70-59 lead, and Crawford's jumper pushed the advantage to 79-64 with 8:53 remaining. That would be Washington's last points for the next 6:47, as Portland resurfaced with a 16-0 run. The Trail Blazers (6-9) led 80-79 with 2:27 left after Nicolas Batum made one of two free throws. Crawford's 3-pointer ended Washington's field-goal drought, and LaMarcus Aldridge followed with a game-tying basket. Okafor's two foul shots put Washington ahead 84-82. After Lillard traveled, Nene was called for a charge with nine seconds remaining. Portland's J.J. Hickson missed a jumper with 2.8 seconds, and Washington secured the rebound with 0.5 seconds left. The Wizards threw away the subsequent inbounds pass, but the Blazers could not get off a shot before the buzzer. "Well, we made it interesting, but we won and that's the most important thing tonight," Wittman said. Batum and Damian Lillard each scored 20 points for Portland, which has lost three in a row. "When you play games with a team that's 0-12 you want to beat them," Batum said. "You don't want to be the first team. That's very embarrassing." Hickson finished with 15 points and 19 rebounds. Aldridge added 17 points, eight in the final quarter. "We lost to a team that was hungrier than us tonight, they were desperate," Hickson said. "You play teams like that and you have to come with your hard hat. We didn't do that tonight. "Loss is a loss, but this one definitely stings knowing the team is 0-12." Lillard and backcourt partner Wesley Matthews finished a combined 8 of 31 shooting and the Trail Blazers shot a season-low 34.9 percent from the field. "Our defense saved the day for us," Wittman said. "We've been preaching all along here, we have to keep it at the standard that it is. We hold them to 35 percent shooting and 82 points. That won the game for us." Trevor Ariza scored 14 points, and Kevin Seraphin contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards. Led by Crawford, the Washington bench outscored the Portland bench, 46-4. "Right now we're just kind of living in the moment," said Martell Webster, whose scoring keyed a first quarter surge after Washington fell behind by 11 points early." Guys are still getting in here tomorrow and working 'cause this doesn't mean anything. It's the first win, it's about time." Added Ariza: "It's a huge, huge weight off your back as a team. We can't stop there. It's only one. It's still a long season. We've got a lot of digging to do to get up out of this hole." NOTES: Nene, who sat out Washington's 118-92 loss against San Antonio on Monday because of \right foot soreness, entered the game with 1:43 left in the first quarter. Scoreless in the first half, the Brazilian big man finished with six points in 19 minutes. ... Wednesday's game marked the 100th meeting between the teams with Portland leading the series 52-48. ... Wizards forward Trevor Booker missed his fourth consecutive game due to a right knee strain.
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