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Crawford's long-range shot at buzzer lifts Wizards

The SportsXchange

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The game appeared headed for overtime when Washington's Jordan Crawford, standing 30 feet from the basket as the game clock ticked to zero, launched a fadeaway jumper over the outstretched arm of Portland's Wesley Matthews.

The ball swished cleanly through the twine, touching off a mass on-court celebration by the Wizards after their 98-95 victory over the Trail Blazers on Monday night at the Rose Garden.

"That's what you live for -- somebody to come in and make a big shot like that," teammate John Wall said of Crawford's game-ending howitzer.

"I just wanted to get a clean look, make a good play," said Crawford, who scored all of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. "I knew the shot had a (chance) to go in. I just thank the Lord I made it."

Nene and Martell Webster each scored 24 points for the Wizards (9-30), who won for the fifth time in the past seven games.

Damian Lillard scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead five players in double figures for the Trail Blazers (20-21), who suffered their sixth straight defeat.

Portland's Nicolas Batum notched his first career triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 11 assists.

Baskets off consecutive Portland turnovers gave the Wizards a 95-90 edge with 58.7 seconds to go. Lillard hit a driving layup to make it 95-92 with 44 seconds left. After a Washington miss, Matthews drained a 3-pointer to tie the score at 95 with 7.9 seconds to play.

After a timeout, Portland intentionally fouled with a foul to give, stopping the clock with 3.6 seconds to go. After another timeout, Crawford gunned in the winning shot over Matthews as time expired.

"That's kind of like heartbreak," Lillard said. "We fight our way all the way back to tie it with three seconds (left), and the guy hits a buzzer-beater. That's frustrating, when you're most likely going to overtime and you lose on a shot like that."

Webster scored nine points in the third quarter to stake Washington to a 69-64 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Crawford gave the Wizards an 85-77 advantage with 6:30 left. It was 87-80 when Portland scored six in a row, drawing within 87-86 with 3:21 remaining. It was back and forth the rest of the way.

All of Portland's losses during its current streak have been by six points or fewer, something that has never happened in franchise history.

"When we're in these situations we've been in a lot lately, it's all the little things through the course of the game that get you to that point," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "Crawford hit a hell of a shot. Wes made a good effort to contest it. We made a good effort to tie the game up, but we have to shore up our breakdowns through the game so we aren't in that position at the end."

Portland went into halftime leading 51-50, surviving an early onslaught by Nene, who scored 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field in the first nine minutes. He finished with 19 points in the half. Webster was hot early, too, scoring 10 points in the first 10 minutes. The former Blazer ended the half with 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range.

Washington led 40-37 when Portland went on an 11-0 run to go in front 48-40 late in the second quarter. The Wizards shot 53.7 percent from the floor but committed 10 turnovers in the half. LaMarcus Aldridge had 14 points and five rebounds at the break.

NOTES: Washington hit nine of its first 10 shots from the field and led 19-12 six minutes into the game. ... The Wizards won the season series 2-0, sweeping the Blazers for the first time since the 2004-05 season. ... Webster made eight of 11 shots from the field, including four of six from 3-point range, and had six assists and four rebounds in 38 minutes. ... Lillard started the game 1-for-11 from the field before hitting his final six shots. ... Portland rookie center Meyers Leonard returned to action after missing the last 11 games with a sprained ankle, collecting six points on 3-of-3 shooting from the floor with four rebounds in 12 minutes.
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