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Portland at Washington

Wizards break winless spell after blowing late 15-point lead

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- After their worst start in history, the Washington Wizards became a national punch line. On TNT, Charles Barkley compared them with the Washington Generals, and a local newspaper had photos of fans wearing paper bags over their heads Monday during a 26-point loss to San Antonio.

The jokes can stop -- at least for now.

Washington earned its first victory after starting the season with 12 consecutive losses, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 84-82 on Wednesday night.

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"When you're 0-12, guys are going to make fun. That's our business, guys," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.

"When you get to this level, you've got to have some thick skin, and you've got to be able to overcome those kind of things."

Washington survived a scoreless 6:47 in the fourth when Jordan Crawford, who had 19 points, hit on a 3-pointer with 2:06 to play. The Wizards finally took the 84-82 lead on Emeka Okafor's two free throws with 39.1 seconds remaining.

Damian Lillard was called for traveling with 28 seconds left. After Nene was called for an offensive foul, J.J. Hickson missed a jumper with 2.8 seconds to play. The Wizards lost the ball with 0.2 seconds to go, but held on to end the skid.

"Well, we made it interesting, but we won," Wittman said.

Nine teams started the season 0-13, and the Wizards were tired of the ridicule they had been subjected to -- locally and nationally -- as they crept toward the Nets' NBA record-worst start of 0-18.

"We don't want to go down in history as one of the worst teams ever," Washington forward Chris Singleton said.

Wittman, whose team travels to New York on Friday and plays Miami next Tuesday, knows the next victory might be hard to get.

"We just broke through the ice. I've lived in Minnesota for 15, 17 years. That ice was 4 or 5 feet deep, but it's broken through now," Wittman said.

Trevor Ariza had 14 and Kevin Seraphin added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Washington, which ended the third quarter on a 23-7 run to take a 68-59 lead, then padded its lead to 15 barely three minutes into the fourth.

The 79-64 lead seemed safe -- even for the Wizards -- but the Trail Blazers ran off 16 consecutive points to take a 80-79 lead with 2:27 to play.

Lillard and Nicolas Batum led Portland, losers of three straight, with 20. LaMarcus Aldridge had 17. Hickson had 15 points and 19 rebounds.

"Loss is a loss, but this one definitely stings knowing the team is 0-12. You never want to be the team they get the win on but we were that team," Hickson said.

Wesley Matthews addressed the Blazers after his team lost, and all his teammates were especially downcast.

"You don't want to be the first team, that's very embarrassing," Batum said.

Martel Webster had also used "embarrassing" to describe Washington's 26-point loss on Monday. He was a bit relieved after the game.

"We are definitely an underdog. We're definitely looked at as the losers of the league, but that's OK. We believe in each other," Webster said.

Rookie Bradley Beal wasn't celebrating his first NBA win -- one that took 29 days to get. He claimed, like most of the Wizards, to ignore the chatter on TV and in the cyber world.

"I don't pay attention to that stuff. They're on the outside looking in. They don't know how hard we work. They just see us playing and the scores," Beal said.

The Blazers hit six of their first seven shots and took a 15-4 lead four minutes into the game.

Nene entered the game with 1:43 to play and helped spur the Wizards to a 37-31 lead with six minutes to play in the first half. At halftime, the teams were tied at 43.

After missing the first nine games of the season with a left foot injury, Nene played two games before missing Monday night's loss. He had six points in 19 minutes.

"For tonight: fresh air, that's all I can say," Nene said.

Notes

  • Washington F Trevor Booker missed his fourth consecutive game with a right knee injury.
  • This was the 100th all-time meeting between the teams. Portland leads 52-48.
  • The Wizards' bench outscored the Trail Blazers' 46-4.
  • Portland has four more games in eight days left on this season-high, seven-game road trip: at Boston, Cleveland, Charlotte and Indiana.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Nene and Chris Singleton can finally celebrate. After a 0-12 start, the Wizards are finally in the win column.  (AP)
Nene and Chris Singleton can finally celebrate. After a 0-12 start, the Wizards are finally in the win column. (AP)

Scoreboard
Portland (6-8)2716162382
Washington (1-11) «2320251684
POR:N. Batum 20 Pts
POR:J. Hickson 19 Reb
POR:D. Lillard 5 Ast
WAS:J. Crawford 19 Pts
WAS:K. Seraphin 10 Reb
WAS:A. Price 6 Ast
Players of the Game
PortlandWashington

J.J. Hickson

Jordan Crawford
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
151921911
Portland
N. Batum, SF456-153-442120
D. Lillard, PG436-214-425120
L. Aldridge, PF418-191-173517
W. Matthews, SG352-101-22126
J. Hickson, PF346-83-7192215
M. Leonard, C141-50-07032
S. Pavlovic, SG80-10-02010
W. Barton, SG81-40-02002
J. Jeffries, PF70-20-00030
R. Price, PG50-10-00120
J. Freeland, PFDid Not Play
N. Smith, PGDid Not Play
V. Claver, SFDid Not Play
L. Babbitt, SFDid Not Play
E. Williams, SGDid Not Play
Totals 30-8612-1845142082
 34.9%66.7% 
Washington
T. Ariza, SG366-90-052214
K. Seraphin, PF335-130-0103210
A. Price, PG311-70-03633
E. Okafor, C222-72-28226
B. Beal, SG162-60-00005
J. Crawford, SG277-144-411119
C. Singleton, SF223-52-35138
Nene, C191-44-56226
S. Livingston, PG173-30-02126
M. Webster, SG161-35-52027
E. Barron, CDid Not Play
C. Martin, PFDid Not Play
J. Vesely, SFDid Not Play
T. Booker, PFDid Not Play
J. Wall, PGDid Not Play
Totals 31-7117-1942181984
 43.7%89.5% 
Other Games
SA 110 Final
Orl 89
Char 91 Final
Atl 94
Brook 95 Final
Bos 83
Pho 77 Final
Det 117
Utah 96 Final
NO 84
Dal 78 Final
Chi 101
NY 102 Final
Mil 88
Hou 98 Final
OKC 120
Tor 82 Final
Mem 103
Min 95 Final
LAC 101