Washington, DC – It took 13 games, but the Washington Wizards are no longer winless.
Jordan Crawford scored 19 points and the Wizards were able to overcome a fourth quarter collapse to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers, 84-82, to earn their first win of the season.
While in the midst of blowing a 15-point fourth quarter lead, Washington was held scoreless for nearly seven minutes, but held on thanks to a timely 3- pointer from Crawford and a pair of free throws by Emeka Okafor to avoid becoming the 10th team in NBA history to lose its first 13 games.
"We made it interesting, but we won," said Wizards coach Randy Wittman. "Our defense saved the day for us. Holding them to 34, 35 percent shooting and 82 points, that won us the game."
Okafor finished with six points, eight rebounds, three steals and a block, while Kevin Seraphin tallied a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Trevor Ariza chipped in 14 points in the win.
The Trail Blazers dropped their third straight contest of a seven-game road trip. Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum led Portland with 20 points apiece, while J.J. Hickson contributed 15 points and a season-high 19 rebounds in the loss.
"This league is tough, reality has set in and we have to deal with it," said Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts. "We've lost three in a row, we lost to two teams on the road with poor records. That's where we stand right now."
The Wizards finished the third period on a 7-0 run to take a 68-59 advantage heading into the final stanza before creating more separation early in the fourth.
Nene, who returned after missing Washington's last contest against San Antonio, hit a pair of free throws to open the fourth to give the Wizards a double-digit lead.
Almost three minutes later, Crawford gave the Wizards their largest lead of the game at 79-64 when he drained a long jump shot, leaving little doubt the Wizards would cruise to their first win of the year.
However, Washington went ice cold immediately after and the Trail Blazers pounced on the opportunity, as Batum and Lillard buried back-to-back three's to cut the deficit to single-digits.
Then, LaMarcus Aldridge knocked down two unanswered jumpers before missing a third, however Hickson was there to follow with a putback dunk to make it a one-point game with just over four minutes remaining.
Portland continued to hold Washington scoreless for two more minutes and took an 80-79 lead to cap a 16-0 run after Hickson and Batum each converted 1-of-2 free throws.
The Wizards finally scored after Crawford buried a triple to give them the lead back, however Aldridge knotted it back up with a jumper on the ensuing possession.
After an exchange of defensive stops, Aldridge fouled Okafor, who made both free throws to give Washington an 84-82 advantage with 39.1 seconds remaining.
The Trail Blazers got three more possessions for an opportunity to score, but failed on all attempts.
The Wizards came out sluggishly to being the game, going down 15-4 just four minutes in but rallied late in the first to pull within four at 27-23 by the end of the period.
Washington took a two-point lead following a Crawford three-point play and built the advantage to as many as six following two more buckets, but Portland rebounded and tied the game at 43-43 before halftime.
After a slow start in the third, the Wizards finished the period strong to outscore the Trail Blazers by nine in the quarter. Portland took a seven point edge following a Lillard triple, but Washington tied the game at 55-55 on a Price three, which sparked a 16-4 run to close out the stanza.
The Wizards played 10 players and each made a field goal in the contest ... Washington's bench outscored Portland's 46-4 ... Washington outshot Portland 43.7 percent to 34.9 percent for the game ... Both teams will be in action again on Friday, as the Trail Blazers continue their road trip in Boston while the Wizards will play in New York against the Knicks.