The Wizards overcame tired legs, a 21 point halftime deficit, a blown lead in the final minute of regulation, and some questionable calls to pull out an improbable 125-124 overtime win in Portland.
Washington got off to a nice start, even though they were playing their fourth game in five nights. They made their first five shots and jumped out to an 11-4 lead. But after an early surge, the Wizards’ fatigue started to show up, especially on the defensive end. Portland ripped off a 14-5 run to take the lead midway through the first quarter and slowly pushed the lead to 36-30 at the end of the first quarter.
C.J. McCollum blew the game wide open for Portland to start the second quarter. He scored the first 12 points of the quarter for the Blazers as they took a 15 point lead. John Wall went into attack mode when he came back into the game, earning 7 free throw attempts and scoring 12 points of his own to cut the lead down to 7 with four minutes left in the quarter. But that was as close as Washington would get in the half, as McCollum and Maurice Harkless led a 14-0 run to close the quarter and send Portland to halftime with a 21 point lead.
Bradley Beal took over to start the third quarter. He scored 12 points in the first four minutes to get the deficit back down to a respectable margin early in the third quarter. From there, the Wizards kept nibbling away at the lead, both with their starters and their bench through the third and fourth quarter.
The Wizards finally took the lead with 2:11 left in regulation on a Bradley Beal three pointer. Wall and Otto Porter followed the big shot with back-to-back layups to give the Wizards what appeared to be a safe six point lead with one minute to go in regulation. But then, Markieff Morris was called for a questionable three second call, Al-Farouq Aminu hit a three, and Jusuf Nurkic hit a pair of free throws to tie the game back up with 23 seconds left. Wall freed himself on the final possession of regulation for an open jumper at the free throw line, but the shot rimmed out and the game went to overtime.
Damian Lillard got hot in overtime scoring nine points, including back-to-back buckets to put the Blazers up by 3 with 35.7 seconds left in overtime. Needing a bucket out of the timeout, the Wizards drew up a play to get Beal open for three and he drew a foul. He only went 2-3 at the line, but since there was still 31.8 seconds on the clock, Washington could play for the stop instead of fouling on the next possession.
The Wizards got the stop from Wall, who blocked Lillard’s attempt to put the game away and gave Washington one last shot to win the game. Once again, they set the play up for Beal, but when Portland converged on him at the rim, he passed the ball out to Markieff Morris, who evaded a defender and buried the game-winning shot with 0.4 seconds left.
DAGGER! #WizBlazers Monstrous Moment pres. by @MonsterProducts pic.twitter.com/pn4Rchf4nv— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) March 12, 2017
On replay, it appears clear Morris steps on the line before he makes his drive to the rim. However NBA replay rules state stepping on the line can only be reviewed if it’s called on the floor. Since it was not, the bucket stood and Washington escaped Portland with another improbable comeback win on the road.
The Wizards now hold a half-game lead over the Celtics, who did not play on Saturday, for the second seed. They’re also now 3.5 games ahead of the Raptors, who lost in Miami on Saturday.
Here’s Morris’ game winner with the Titanic music, just because
It shouldn't have counted... BUT IT DID!!! MARKIEFF MORRIS' JUMPER WITH 0.4 SEC LEFT IS MUCH BETTER W/TITANIC MUSIC! (@WashWizards) pic.twitter.com/4HDlpD4UJz— Titanic Hoops (@TitanicHoops) March 12, 2017