Don Ryan/Associated Press
"JORDAN CRAWFORD WITH THE DAGGER OF THE YEAR!" shouted Washington Wizards play-by-play TV announcer Steve Buckhantz, seconds after Crawford's 30-foot jumper from left of the key swished through the net with no time on the clock to give the Wizards a 98-95 win over the Trail Blazers in Portland. Washington swept the season series from Portland for the first time since 2004-05.
Here is the Buckhantz call on CSN Washington:
And for a contrast, here is how Portland announcers called that last play:
The win improves Washington's record to 9-30 and 3-17 on the road. It evens Washington's record on this western road swing at 2-2 with one more game, in Utah, left before the Wiz return home. The loss was Portland's sixth in a row, dropping their record to 20-21. The Wizards have been the league's worst team all season, but they may soon lose that dubious distinction. Washington has won 5 of their last 7 games and is now almost tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers [10-32] and Charlotte Bobcats [10-31].
A major reason for that turnaround has been the return of John Wall, who missed the first 33 games of the season with a stress injury in his knee, but last night Washington proved they can win without significant contributions from Wall or Bradley Beal, the other half of Washington's backcourt of the future. Wall had his first stinker since returning, scoring six points on 2-8 shooting, with twice as many turnovers  as assists  in 26 pretty lousy minutes on the floor. Beal, who seemed reluctant to shoot and may still be feeling the effect of the hard foul he took near the end of the Denver game that injured his wrist, missed 6 of 7 shots and matched his season-low with only 2 points.
The last few minutes of the game were not always pretty for the Wizards, but it was impressive they proved they can win on the road against a respectable team even when their best player and their top scorer give them almost nothing. The rest of the team is capable of filling in the gaps.
Former Blazer Martell Webster hit 8 of 11 shots, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc, to score 24 points. He also grabbed four rebounds and dished 6 assists for his best all-around game of the season. Nene hit 10-17, grabbed 9 rebounds, assisted on 5 baskets and had 4 steals. The entire starting front line played well, with center Emeka Okafor giving the team 13 points and 13 rebounds in 30 quality minutes.
The Wiz got very little from the bench apart from Jordan Crawford, who scored all his 13 points in the final period, including the final 3 of the game. Crawford hit 5 of 8 shots, including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers, and committed only 1 turnover in 22 minutes. Trevor Booker scored only 3 points in ten minutes and Kevin Seraphin missed 6 of 9 shots and scored only 6 points. As has been the norm recently, forwards Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton, both first round picks, did not play at all.
Every Trail Blazer starter scored in double figures, but no one off the bench scored more than 6 points and that was the difference on a night when the teams were very evenly matched all game long. Washington hit 46.5% of its shots. Portland hit 45.7& of its shots. The Wizards made 12 free throws, the Trail Blazers made 14. The Wizards grabbed 44 rebounds, the Blazers grabbed 42. The Wizards took 11 boards off the offensive glass, the Blazers 10. The Wizards had 23 assists, the Blazers had 25. The Wizards had 6 steals, the Blazers had 5. The Wizards committed 18 fouls, the Blazers 17. The Wizards made two more shots from the field than Portland did and it was that last one that made the difference.
Nicholas Batum recorded a triple-double, with 12 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds and rookie guard Damian Lillard looked like the top rookie of the year candidate he has been all season in the fourth quarter, though he did miss 10 of 17 shots on the game. However, with just over 7 minutes left in the game Jordan Crawford's 3-pointer put Washington up 82-75, their largest lead of the game. The Blazers fought back, though, narrowing the lead to 91-90 when Lillard soared over Nene and threw down a thunderous dunk that brought the Portland faithful to their feet.
Webster and Wall responded with big dunks to put the Wiz back up by 5, but Lillard got a layup and Wesley Matthews drained a huge 3-pointer on Portland's last possession to tie the game at 95 and bring the crowd, once again, to its feet. That set up Crawford and his big shot.
The Wizards in-bounded the ball to Crawford on the left side of the front court with 3.6 seconds remaining in the game. Crawford caught the ball 33 feet away from the basket, faked a move to the right and stepped quickly to his left, dribbling only once. He elevated over Matthews and fired a perfect shot that drew no iron as it swished elegantly through the basket.
Crawford raced into the backcourt, but was quickly mobbed by his jubilant teammates, who tackled him, with Martell Webster kicking his legs in joy. It was not Washington's most improbable win of the season, but it was the most dramatic.