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Blazers vs. Wizards final score: Washington finally wins!

The Washington Wizards finally got their first win of the season, defeating the Portland Trail Blazers, 84-82.


WASHINGTON -- The Wizards won! The Wizards won! It wasn't pretty and it shouldn't have been this close and the call to give the Blazers 0.2 seconds left was BS and it's only one win and ... NEVERMIND THE WIZARDS WON!

Here are your notes. Celebrate in whatever fashion you like in the comments.

  • Well, that was another bad start. For the most part, the Wizards missed jumpers and the Blazers made them, which of course is the problem. In LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews, the Blazers have some very good jump shooters. The Wizards ... don't.
  • A.J. Price has to know better than to duck under a dribble-handoff screen on Lillard. It's not like Lillard's game is much of a secret at this point.
  • Bradley Beal's first shot was yet another passive long two where he initially hesitated on a drive. C'mon, Brad.
  • His next offensive play ended with him hesitating on a pass that was stolen by Wesley Matthews. Then, he let Matthews sneak backdoor from the corner for an offensive rebound and struggled to comprehend a perimeter switch with Trevor Ariza. That was an ugly few minutes.
  • Ariza was at least hitting his jumpers early. At least early.
  • There was a clear emphasis on getting the ball inside to Kevin Seraphin early. I like that, but Seraphin, as usual, needs to be able to do more with these opportunities than shoot righty and lefty hook shots.
  • The Wizards' default strategy was to hedge hard on Lillard's pick and rolls. That's been how most teams have played Lillard recently, and it's confused the rookie a bit. It led to a crosscourt pass and a turnover one time.
  • On the other hand, on Nene's first defensive possession, he tried to hang back and contain rather than trap Lillard on the pick and roll. Lillard zipped by him for an easy layup. That's why you don't do that on Lillard.
  • The Wizards' offense is just more open when Martell Webster's in the game. He's a threat and he will take that perimeter shot, so defenses have to honor him. That makes it easier for everyone else to play their games. That's what shooters that make themselves threats do to a defense.
  • I would like to see Nene work a little harder to get better post position sometimes. He's quick enough to beat slower defenders facing up, but he'd make life a little easier on himself if he caught the ball deeper. He lets himself get pushed out too easily.
  • Man, Portland's bench is awful.
  • Very good minutes from Chris Singleton early in the second quarter. I really liked the way he fought LaMarcus Aldridge for post position on one possession. Aldridge tried catching it on the block twice and Singleton denied the entry pass both times. Aldridge eventually caught it well beyond the paint and had to work harder to get a good look.
  • J.J. Hickson sat on Seraphin's right-handed hook shot to get a steal. Seraphin had two feet in the paint on that post-up -- why isn't he doing a power move?
  • Shaun Livingston once again gave the Wizards good minutes. He actually looked for his shot in this game, and given the team's lack of threats, looking to score is really important. I liked his dribble-drive past Ronnie Price for a reverse layup in the left corner.
  • Jordan Crawford, once again, looked to take the ball to the basket. When that happens, good things always take place. It's when he launches long jump shots that he gets into trouble. He's slowly, but surely starting to understand that he's not a great jump-shooter. It's when he breaks the defense down that he becomes effective.
  • There were two really smart plays by Nene guarding LaMarcus Aldridge late in the second quarter. On both, he beat Aldridge to the spot by anticipating driving angles. On the first, he forced Aldridge into a fadeaway. On the second, he forced Aldridge into an offensive foul. That's what Nene gives you defensively.
  • One problem with Livingston is that he's way too slow laterally to stop Lillard at the point of attack. What you gain offensively with Livingston, you give up defensively.
  • Crawford forced a couple shots late in the second quarter, allowing the Blazers to get back in it. Those are the shots he needs to cut out of his diet.
  • And, on the first possession of the second half, Ariza lets Batum glide right by him on a series of off-ball cuts, which leads to an easy layup.
  • The sooner Beal just plays instead of thinks, the better. Glad he didn't worry about his initial turnover and continued to look to score.
  • Emeka Okafor has some terrible, terrible touch around the rim. When you get a pass right under the hoop with early post-up position, you have to convert.
  • The Blazers are a jump-shooting team, so there will be stretches where the shots just stop falling. The stretch where they gave up a seven-point lead was one of those. I don't think there was anything spectacular that the Wizards were doing defensively, though I could be proven wrong on the rewatch.
  • Lillard had some good looks, but missed them. It seems like he's starting to hit a bit of a wall as teams devote more attention to him. These were shots he was hitting earlier in the season.
  • Great defensive set out of the timeout at the 5:54 mark. Some excellent closeouts forced a travel. In general, the Wizards really dug in defensively during a two and a half minute stretch in the third quarter. This was always going to be a good defensive team even with injuries, though a lot depends on Ariza's ability to focus and Okafor's ability to rebound. They were doing that in the third quarter, and the Blazers, who lack any sort of slasher, were flinging bad jumpers because of it.
  • Interesting that Nene and Singleton came in at the same time for Okafor and Seraphin. We didn't see any of the Okafor/Nene frontcourt that we saw in a couple prior games, even with Meyers Leonard playing.
  • The Wizards' bigs forced Lillard to miss a ton of shots at the rim. Great job by everyone of contesting without fouling.
  • I really liked how Singleton was used in this game. Wittman made sure to play him a lot when the Blazers had LaMarcus Aldridge at power forward, using his ability to stretch the floor against the Blazers. On one play, Aldridge completely lost him because his natural instincts are to protect the basket. Singleton drained the open jumper off a simple cut.
  • Yup, there were MVP chants for Nene. Only a couple, but I applaud those folks.
  • So much standing around in the Blazers' offense...
  • Poor recognition by Martell Webster and Nene on a couple possessions in the fourth quarter. Webster left Batum trying to chase down a steal he was never going to get, leaving Batum wide open for a three. Then, Nene didn't step up on Lillard, surrendering his patented three off the pick and roll. Two mistakes turned a 15-point lead into a nine-point margin in just two possessions.
  • The jumpers Crawford took off the dribble with a hand in his face were completely unnecessary and completely Crawford. Same goes for A.J. Price. These are horrible shots anytime. These are especially horrible shots when nursing a lead.
  • Singleton is still not strong enough to shot-fake and drive to the rim. That's a problem. A huge problem.
  • That lack of a box out by Kevin Seraphin on that J.J. Hickson dunk was shameful. How does that happen?
  • Of course, not like Okafor was much better on the next possession.
  • Nobody moved at all on the possession where the game was tied and Price missed a leaner. They all watched as Ariza failed to throw an entry pass to Okafor, then drove to the paint, stopped, passed on a shot and found Price for the leaner. Does anyone want to try to win, or do they just want to try to not lose?
  • Never throw a crosscourt pass AFTER the guy calls fo the ball. By then, it's too late.
  • Big-time block by Emeka Okafor on Hickson, but Aldridge should have shot that ball. Kind of a brutal sequence there.
  • Great, great job by Ariza to dig down on Aldridge, and an equally excellent job of Singleton to force him middle. I'm not sure why Aldridge went middle given the Wizards' defensive alignment, but I'll take it.
  • Oof, hell of a pick and roll ruined by a great play from Lillard taking the charge. It looked like a charge to me. Too bad, because Crawford set that one up really well.