Despite stopping the league's longest losing streak this season at 12 games, the Washington Wizards still have a sizable task ahead of them if they expect to compete for a playoff spot. The first step in the right direction came Nov. 28 as the Wizards narrowly edged the Portland Trail Blazers for their first victory of the year.
Nov. 26: San Antonio 118, Washington 92
If the Wizards are going to learn how to play as a team, they got a glimpse of the blueprint when one of the top teams in the Western Conference invaded the Verizon Center and gave Washington a lesson in team-building. The Spurs blitzed Washington for 60 first-half points before racking up another 58 points in the second half. Six Spurs players scored in double figures while the short-handed Wizards could hardly keep up. In nearly every stat that an NBA team can record, the Spurs outperformed the Wizards, highlighted by their 32 combined assists to Washington's lowly 14. Wizards reserve guard Jordan Crawford led the team in scoring with 19 points. “We’re all embarrassed, plain and simple,” Washington small forward Martell Webster told reporters afterward.
Nov. 28: Washington 84, Portland 82
Every Wizards player who saw minutes scored against Portland, marking the type of team effort that it took for the Wizards to notch their first victory of the season. Washington led by as much as 15 points at home in the Verizon Center, only to see Portland storm back to take a one-point lead late in the fourth quarter before Crawford buried a three-pointer to give Washington its final lead. Three players scored in double figures for Washington, highlighted by Crawford's 19 points. “We have to keep working hard, keep getting better and keep trying to win games,” rookie guard Bradley Beal said after the game.
Nov. 30: New York 108, Washington 87
A few nights after collecting their first win, it was back to the drawing board for the Wizards against the impressive Knicks. Playing in the always hostile Madison Square Garden, New York led by nine points after the first quarter and never looked back, collecting its 10th straight win over the Wizards in the process. Five players scored in double figures for the Knicks, who were led by Carmelo Anthony's 20 points. The Wizards were paced by Crawford's 17.
After a full month of NBA action, the Wizards have the league's worst record at 1-13. Washington is still badly in need of star guard John Wall to return before they can even think about seriously competing in the Eastern Conference. Next up for Washington is a Dec. 4 date at Washington’s Verizon Center with the defending NBA champions, the Miami Heat.