Monday, January 21, 2013

Crawford Nails Buzzer Beater, Wizards Top Blazers

It was an eventful day in the nation's capital. Back in D.C., Barack Obama was sworn into office for his second term as 44th President of the United States. On the other side of the country, the Washington Wizards continued their West coast swing, making a visit to Portland for a showdown with the 20-20 Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers, though losers of 5 straight, have been revived this season by rookie of the year candidate Damian Lillard, who has been averaging 18 points and 6 assists per game.

The Wizards were able to stay competitive with the Clippers on Saturday night, and were hoping for some more positive results, after being in several close contests on their presidential inauguration road trip. For Martell Webster, the trip to Portland was a little more meaningful. Webster spent the first 5 years of his career with the Blazers, and was hoping to help his new team to a win over some of his ex-teammates. Washington had already defeated Portland 84-82 at the Verizon Center on November 28th for their first win of the season, behind 19 points from Jordan Crawford.

Washington jumped out to an early 19-12 lead with 6:57 left in the 1st quarter, behind 12 quick points from Nene. The Wizards went into the 2nd quarter with 34-31 advantage, as Nene finished the 1st quarter with 16 points, shooting 8-9 from the field. The Wizards trailed by as many as 8 in the 2nd quarter, but went into the half down by only a point at 51-50.

The Wizards outscored the Blazers 19-13 in the 3rd quarter, going into the 4th with a 69-64 lead. Washington then went up 82-75 on a Jordan Crawford three-pointer with 7:09 left, but Portland rallied and eventually shaved the lead back down to 1 with 3:21 remaining.

Late in the game, John Wall thought he had put the icing on the cake by stripping Damian Lillard and throwing down a fast-break dunk with 58.7 seconds remaining, but following a Portland timeout, Lillard responded with a running layup of his own, making it a 2 point game with 54 seconds left.

After Trevor Ariza missed a three-pointer, Nene grabbed a second chance rebound to set up John Wall who missed a running jump shot, and on the ensuing Portland possession, Wesley Matthews drained a three-pointer to tie the game at 95 with 7.9 seconds left.

Portland had a foul to give, and Lillard fouled Wall on the floor with 3.6 seconds left. After Wizards head coach Randy Wittman called a 20 second timeout, Webster in-bounded the ball to Jordan Crawford, who sank a long three-pointer at the buzzer to secure a 98-95 Wizards win.

Wizards guard Jordan Crawford is congratulated by teammates after hitting a game-winning three-pointer (AP photo/Don Ryan)

Martell Webster and Nene led the Wizards with 24 points a piece, and Emeka Okafor had another double-double, contributing 13 points and 13 rebounds. Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 18 points and 5 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews both added 17 points in the loss.

The Wizards will travel to Utah to take on the Jazz on Wednesday night.