- Sports & Recreation
By Kerry Eggers, The Sports Xchange January 22, 2013 12:40 AM
PORTLAND - Jordan Crawford's fadeaway 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Washington Wizards a 98-95 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night at the Rose Garden. It was the fifth win in seven games for the Wizards (9-30), who hold victories over Oklahoma City, Atlanta and Denver during that string. Nene and Martell Webster each scored 24 points for Washington. 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. Baskets off consecutive Portland turnovers gave the Wizards a 95-90 edge with 58.7 seconds to go. Lillard hit a driving layup to close it to 95-92 with 44 seconds left. After a Washington miss, Wesley Matthews drained a 3-pointer to tie the score at 95-95 with 7.9 seconds to play. After a timeout, Portland had a foul to give and intentionally committed a foul, stopping the clock with 3.6 seconds to go. After another timeout, Crawford bombed in the winning shot over the outstretched arm of Matthews as time expired, precipitating a wild celebration as Crawford's teammates mobbed him on the court. Trailing by one at the half, Webster scored nine points in the third quarter to stake Washington to a 69-64 lead going into the final period. 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 to within 87-86 with 3:21 remaining. Portland went into halftime leading 51-50, surviving an early onslaught by Nene, who scored 17 points - on 8-for-9 shooting - 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-for-4 shooting, including 2-for-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 but committed 10 turnovers in the half. LaMarcus Aldridge had 14 points and five rebounds at the break. NOTES: Portland rookie center Meyers Leonard made his return Monday after missing the last 11 games with a sprained ankle. ... Blazers forward Nicolas Batum was in the starting lineup despite a painful right wrist injured in practice last Friday. ... Washington's John Wall will continue to come off the bench despite his best performance of the season Saturday night at Staples Center. The third-year point guard, who missed the first 33 games with a stress fracture to his left patella, had 24 points and six assists in 31 minutes in a 94-87 loss to the L.A. Clippers. "We're going to continue on this path right now," coach Randy Wittman said. "As we start moving the minutes up, that will change. These next two games, we're staying with the minute plateau we have for him." ... The Wizards rank last in the NBA in scoring (90.8) and field-goal percentage (.417), but Wittman sees improvement with Wall's return. "The pace of the game changes just because of how he plays," Wittman said. "We get more possessions, more things in transition, more open looks. The penetration John brings creates some of those opportunities, but you still have to knock them down. That's what has transpired." ... Though the Wizards own the NBA's worst record at 8-30, they rank third in bench scoring at 40.7 points per game. The Blazers, conversely, are last at 16.5. In the Wizards' 84-82 win over Portland on Nov. 28 - their first of the season after 12 losses - they outscored the Blazers' reserves 46-4. ... Portland had lost a season-high five in a row before Monday's game. "When you go through a losing streak, you wonder when the next win's going to come," coach Terry Stotts said. "You go into the next game fired up, with a good attitude. After every game, you can't get too high or too low, because you have to gear up for the next game. We just have to go out and find a way to win a game."