Yes? Hello? Are you all out there? Still breathing? That was a close one.
The Wizards came oh-so-close to blowing a 25-point lead, letting it dwindle to just three at one point, but held on in the fourth quarter to defeat the Trail Blazers, who came into this one 8-1 in their past nine games despite missing Wesley Matthews.
I'm not even going to give you the "things we learned" portion of this recap, because there was seriously just so much going on here.
Plus, I'm still recovering from this Nene dunk.
I was close to listening "To Pimp a Butterfly" all the way through for the sixth time today after the first half, waiting to mail this one in.
Things got really out of hand for Portland when they failed to score in the final 2:51 of the first half. Throughout the first two quarters, the Wizards did a great job of closing out on the Trail Blazers' shooters, preventing them for raining the threes they usually pour in, even without Matthews.
Ramon Sessions played some solid defense on Damian Lillard, and Gortat was a monster down low once again, grabbing seven rebounds.
In the third quarter, things got cold. Ice cold. There was hardly any movement on offense. No one was cutting to the hoop, and most of the shots the Wizards were taking were contested jumpers (no surprise there).
During the first 3:52 of the fourth quarter, Washington's only two points came off of two free throws from Nene. But all of a sudden, something clicked. The starting five actually started working like a cohesive unit again.
Bradley Beal and Paul Pierce were sinking threes, and the Wizards managed to hang out despite failing to make the same defensive stops they were making in the first half.
Now, the Wizards have won four games in a row, and in my book, they're out of their slump.
Washington actually hung on to a big lead for once (for the most part), and these big wins come at a great time, considering the Wiz have to go on a four-game road swing now on the West Coast.
But enough about the future, here's some other interesting notes from tonight:
- Portland finished the game shooting 28.6 percent from beyond the arc tonight. It came into this game sixth in the league in team three-point percentage, and made the third most threes per game.
- John Wall finished the game with 21 points, and now has 20-plus points in four out of the seven games he's played in March. Go ahead, Wallstar.
- Marcin Gortat did Marcin Gortat things again, finishing the game with nine rebounds, a block and 16 points. He's averaging 15.2 points per game this month.
- Damian Lillard shot just 5-for-18 from the floor, in part due to great defense from Wall and Sessions. Since joining the Wizards, Sessions has a defensive rating of 104, according to Basketball-Reference.com, which is way down from his 113 rating he had with the Kings.