Extra! Extra! The Washington Wizards are winless no more.
“I told them we just broke through the ice,” Randy Wittman told the press after the game. “I lived in Minnesota for 15, 17 years—that ice was four or five feet deep, but it’s broken through now. This is obviously a good win for us.”
It was a good win. But it’s their only win. The first. A step in the right direction. Had the Wizards lost to the Blazers, they would have been the 10th team in NBA history to have started a season 0-13. “We don’t want to go down in history as one of the worst teams ever,” said Chris Singleton in the winning locker room. The Wiz avoided that peculiar honor … for now.
What did the Portland Trail Blazers have to say about it? Glad you asked.
Also, before you go, check out my rapid reaction to the game. (Find more at ESPN’s Daily Dime Live and stay tuned for a D.C. Council post later.)
Most valuable player: J.J. Hickson was the surprise stud against the Wizards, filling up the stat sheet like Kevin Love. He finished the game with 15 points, 19 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in 34 minutes.
Defining Moment: With 58 seconds to play, and the score locked at 82, Emeka Okafor blocked J.J. Hickson below the rim. Okafor earned his first trip to the free throw line on the ensuing possession, and sank both shots (the last points scored in the game) to give his team a two-point lead in a tightly contested fourth quarter.
X factor: The Wiz came into the game attempting the third-most 3s per game (22.9), but were shooting just 29.8 percent from deep (27th in the NBA). But they kept it inside the arc on this night (5-for-12), which helped them notch their first win of the season—finally.