Who says 13 is not a lucky number? For the Washington Wizards, it is now their favorite number. The team finally pulled out their first win of year in game number 13 by hanging on for a hard fought 84-82 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Familiar writing was on the wall for the Wizards as time was winding down in the fourth. Up by as much as 15 in the quarter, Washington found themselves suddenly tied with Portland after the Wizards went ice cold from the field. With 2:27 left in the game, the Wizards even found themselves down one to a scrappy Portland team who lit up the field for much of the fourth quarter. Almost two minutes later, it was offseason acquisition Emeka Okafor shooting two free throws, hitting two and giving Washington a lead they would not relinquish.
After a dicey moment where the Trail Blazers very nearly scored on a last millisecond inbounds pass, Chris Singleton came down with the defensive rebound to seal the Wizards’ first victory of the season.
It was starting to look like Washington was going to really challenge the New Jersey, now Brooklyn, Nets for the record for worst start in NBA history. With the team staring 0-13 in the face and a tough recent stretch featuring the New York Knicks and Miami Heat in back-to-back games coming up, Wednesday’s game against the Trail Blazers was one of their last legitimate shots to get a win.
The game was tied at halftime with both teams putting down 43-points. Neither team shot well in the first half and really for the game. Portland only hit 35-percent of their shots and missed six free throws, while Washington shot 44-percent from the field, but only missed two from the line, which ended up being the difference.
Jordan Crawford was a force for the Wizards and was their main scoring threat, hitting seven buckets for 19 points and hit all four of his free throws. Pair his double-digit points with Trevor Ariza’s 14 and the Wizards suddenly had their go-to scorers for the evening. Of note was Kevin Seraphin who had another double-double with 10 points and 10 boards, but was ineffective late missing some easy buckets that could have really put the game away sooner.
Washington got a lot of support off the bench in its win, while Portland leaned heavily on its starters. With only four total points coming of the bench, it was Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard who lead the Trail Blazers in scoring with a combined 40 points. Like Seraphin, J.J. Hickson also had a double-double with 15 points and 19 boards, 10 of them on the defensive side of the ball.
Now sitting at 1-12, the Wizards can start to focus on getting healthy and getting a sense of flow on the court instead of just getting their fist win. John Wall did warmups before the game with a knee brace and looks closer to coming back, but is not quite ready yet. In terms of finding their flow, it might be hard with their next two games against two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference in the Knicks and Heat.
For now though, Washington can celebrate, as their season long slump is over, history will not be made and the Wizards finally pulled out a win.