It’s been a very long time since the Washington Wizards were holding a winning record, longer than any other NBA team. So long that John Wall is playing on a winning side for the first time in his short NBA career.
The Wizards got there with a 100-90 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, with Wall putting on another very impressive stat-sheet performance: 22 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He got plenty of help from Trevor Ariza scoring 20 and Kevin Seraphin adding 19 from the bench.
The Wizards haven’t been over .500 in 355 consecutive games, by far the longest streak of sort among NBA teams. Wall himself hasn’t played for them and has gotten to experience what’s it like to be with a winning record, something that only those from the good Glibert Arenas days remember. It came with the Wizards beating the Thunder and the Blazers one after the other, two teams with a .700 record or better. The last time the Wizards won two straight games against opponents with such a winning record happened to be in 2008 with back to back wins over the Celtics.
It’s only one game over, but, yeah, it’s a big relief. But the main thing is we’ve got bigger goals to try to keep winning games and try to keep getting better and try not to go back down — so we won’t have to have this talk again. It’s great to finally get this team over the hump, but it ain’t out of the way. How many more games have we got to play? You act like that was the last daggum game. … If we’re going to learn to be a good basketball team, we have to do this every night, no matter who you’re playing. It’s great that we’re 24-23 now, but I don’t want them to focus on a number. I want them to focus on the act of why you’re 24-23. That’s where you keep it going. I want this team to get on a run. They haven’t ever been on a run.
There’s no award that goes to teams suddenly moving from the red to the black, but with it being so long for the Wizards with more losses than wins, it’s obvious that it’s not just another win. Including opening night, it was the 7th time the Wizards had a chance to get above .500 this season finally coming through with the win over Portland.
In Blazers camp, it’s easy to see that things might not be as good as before. Their bench has scored only 23 points over the last three games, getting a total of 6 points this time from Mo Williams and Joel Freeland. As always, this puts a lot of pressure on the starting five to all be on their best behavior, which includes Damian Lillard scoring 25 points but on only 8-of-19 from the field and LaMarcus Aldridge adding 20 points. Without a great defense and without having the chance to give some key players a rest, all the great work from earlier this season is slowly starting to go to waste with fatigue becoming more and more of an issue.