The Washington Wizards are no longer winless.
They beat the Portland Trail Blazers 84-82 on Wednesday night. The Wizards were the last team to win this season and their prize for finally getting over the hump? It's a Friday night game in Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, one of the best teams in the NBA.
"We just broke through the ice. That ice was four or five feet deep, but it's broken through now. This is obviously a good win for us," said a clearly relieved, if not jubilant, Wizards coach Randy Wittman.
"When you're 0-12, guys are going to make fun of you. That's the nature of the business. When you get to this level, you've got to have some thick skin. We have battled and battled and battled. That's not an easy thing to do when you're 0-12."
The Wizards did battle. In their 12 losses, only four were by double-figures.
Jordan Crawford led the way for the Wiz with 19 points off the bench. The Washington reserves outscored Portland's reserves, 46-4. Trevor Ariza and Kevin Seraphin both scored in double-figures for Washington with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
No rest for the Wizards, who head into MSG to face a Knicks team that is 2-3 in their last five.
After a spirited affair in Brooklyn on Monday, which saw the Knicks fall to their new neighbors, the Nets, 96-89 in overtime, New York rebounded with a 102-88 victory Wednesday in Milwaukee over the Bucks.
Carmelo Anthony led a well-balanced attack with 29 points on 9-for-18 shooting, including 4-for-8 from the 3-point line. Wisconsin native Steve Novak had 19 off the bench and Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni all scored double-digits.
"We made shots, we spread the court and Raymond was very aggressive today," Anthony said Wednesday after the win. "I was taking what they were giving me. Tonight was one of those nights where I made shots and I tried to make the game easier for myself."
Jason Kidd missed the Nets game and the Bucks game with back spasms and he is doubtful for Friday night's contest.
The Knicks, the fourth-highest scoring team and eighth-best defensive scoring team, play their next two at home before a three-game, four-day road trip with stops in Charlotte, Miami and Chicago.
The Knicks have won nine straight against the Wizards and are 13-2 in their last 15. The last time Washington won at Madison Square Garden was Dec. 6, 2006.