“We need to win a game. I don’t think anyone is worried or panicked. We just need to win a game,” Lillard said.
Nene scored 10 points in the first four minutes for the Wizards, who led by as many as seven points early. The Blazers went ahead 21-19 on Lillard’s 20-foot pull-up jumper, but couldn’t hang on to the lead and Washington finished the first quarter ahead 34-31. Nene had 17 points in the first period alone.
The Wizards led until J.J. Hickson’s dunk and free throw gave Portland a 42-40 edge midway through the second quarter.
Rookie Meyers Leonard’s long jumper and a layup to extended the Blazers’ lead to 48-40. Leonard was making his return after missing 11 games with a right ankle injury.
But the Wizards closed out the half with a 10-3 run to narrow it to 51-50 for Portland at the break.
The Blazers held off the Wizards in the third quarter but surrendered the lead when Emeka Okafor’s free throw put Washington ahead 60-59. Webster made a 3-pointer that made it 63-61 for Washington.
The Wizards closed out the quarter with a 15-5 run to make it 69-64, but Ronnie Price narrowed it with a 3-pointer to open the final period.
“I always like to say the basketball gods usually even everything out. We’ve been on the other end of this so many times this year,” Washington coach Randy Wittman said. “Our guys are sticking with it, learning, and making plays down the stretch when we have to.”
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