WASHINGTON, D.C. The Washington Wizards had to win a game sometime this season.
Sure enough, it came on the Trail Blazers annual visit to the Verizon Center.
Washington coughed up all of a 15-point fourth-quarter lead but stabilized just enough to pull out an 84-82 win over Portland Monday night.
Emeka Okafors two free throws with 39.1 seconds left provided the final points and the margin of victory for the Wizards (1-12), who led 77-62 with 9:44 remaining.
Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard each scored 20 points for the Blazers (6-9), who are 0-3 on their current seven-game road trip.
Portland shot a season-low .349 from the field and made only 10 of 31 3-point attempts. The Blazers were terrible offensively midway through each half as Washington went on extended runs of 32-10 and 28-11.
Portland opened the second half on a 9-2 run to go in front 52-45, but Washington gained control over the next 12 minutes, taking a 77-62 lead with 9:44 minutes left.
Then Batum and Lillard knocked down back-to-back threes to start a 16-0 Portland roll as the Wizards missed nine straight shots and went six minutes without a point.
A free throw by J.J. Hickson who had 15 points and a game-high 19 rebounds gave Portland an 80-79 advantage with 2:15 remaining.
Washingtons Jordan Crawford who came off the bench for a team-high 19 points buried a three, but LaMarcus Aldridge sank a 17-footer to make it 82-82 with 1:45 to go. Those were to be Portlands final points of the game.
Crawford missed a driving shot and the Blazers rebounded. Aldridge passed up an open 8-footer to pass to Hickson, whose point-blank shot was blocked and rebounded by the Wizards. Okafor was fouled at the other end with 39.1 seconds to go and made both shots to give Washington an 84-82 lead.
After Batum air-balled a 3-point attempt, Lillard wound up with the rebound and was called for traveling with 26.9 seconds left.
The Blazers chose not to foul, and Nene was called for offensive foul on Lillard with 9.0 seconds left. After a timeout, Lillard drove and dropped a pass through traffic to Hickson, who missed a fadeaway 15-footer. Washingtons Chris Singleton rebounded and was fouled with .5 of a second left, but the Wizards werent in the bonus yet.
Portlands Wesley Matthews intercepted the throw-in with .2 of a second left. The Blazers only option was to throw a lob pass at the basket. After a timeout, the throw-in hit the basket it almost went through the hoop and the game was Washingtons.
The teams went into halftime tied 43-43, Lillard and Batum each contributing 11 points to the Blazers offense.
Portland held a 20-9 lead with four minutes left in the first quarter. Over the next 10 minutes, the Wizards seized the advantage to go on top 37-31. Portland closed with a 12-6 edge to go into intermission even.
NOTES: Portlands next stop is Friday at Boston. ... Hickson made 6 of 8 shots from the field, the only Portland starter to find the range. Lillard was 6 for 21, Matthews 2 for 10, Batum 6 for 15 and Aldridge 8 for 19. ... Hickson had 10 offensive rebounds. It was his eighth double-double of the season, tying him for fifth in the NBA in that category. ... Aldridge finished with 17 points and seven boards in 41 minutes. ... Washington point guard John Wall has yet to play this season due to a knee injury. ... Washingtons reserves outscored Portlands bench 46-4, including 19-0 in the second half. ... the Wizards have lost three overtime games this season.