After enduring the worst start in team history, the Washington Wizards finally got in the win column their last time out.
Another victory could be hard to come by with a visit to Madison Square Garden in store.
The Wizards try to build on their latest result Friday night against the New York Knicks, who look to stay unbeaten at home and continue their recent domination in the series.
Washington opened 0-12 before escaping with an 84-82 win over Portland on Wednesday. The Wizards surrendered their fewest points of the season and held the Trail Blazers to a season-low 34.9 percent shooting, but they still had to sweat things out after blowing a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter.
"Well, we made it interesting, but we won," coach Randy Wittman said. "We just broke through the ice. I've lived in Minnesota for 15, 17 years. That ice was four or five feet deep, but it's broken through now.
"When you get to this level, you've got to have some thick skin, and you've got to be able to overcome those kind of things."
Jordan Crawford had 19 points off the bench while Kevin Seraphin scored 10 to go along with 10 rebounds.
"It's a great moment for us, but at the same time we can't celebrate too much," rookie Bradley Beal said. "We have a great team coming up next in New York. We have to be ready for Friday.
"We know they can shoot the ball, they're capable of pretty much anything. They spread the floor, 3-point shooters everywhere ... so we really have to be on our toes and make sure we're aware of who's on the court."
The Wizards have dropped nine straight to the Knicks (10-4) by an average of 14.0 points. They suffered a 103-65 defeat in the last matchup April 13, their 15th loss in 17 visits to New York.
After falling 96-89 in overtime in Monday's much-anticipated showdown at Brooklyn, the Knicks bounced back with a 102-88 win at Milwaukee two nights later. Carmelo Anthony continued his impressive play, scoring 29 points and shooting 9 of 18 from the field.
"He's playing at an all-time high, I think. And it's a beautiful thing to watch," coach Mike Woodson said of Anthony, who's gone 17 of 26 (65.4 percent) from 3-point range and averaged 32.5 points over his last four games.
"He's just been solid, and it's kind of nice to see. He's put a lot of time in this summer with the Olympics, and it carried over to the summer program when we got back. He came to vet camp in great shape, and it's been a nice carry-over to the season."
Anthony has been especially good at home, where he's posted an NBA-best 28.6 points per game in helping New York open 5-0 for the first time since a 9-0 start in 1992-93.
Anthony is averaging 27.1 points against Washington, his third-highest mark versus any opponent. He may need to shoulder even more of the load with Jason Kidd uncertain to be available for a third straight game due to back spasms.
The Knicks may also want to get Steve Novak more involved. The 3-point specialist went 5 for 7 from beyond the arc and finished with a season-high 19 points against the Bucks. New York is 11-0 when he scores at least 16 dating to last season.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved