How the Wizards got over .500 in their seventh try is quite improbable but fitting considering how this season has gone. They did it at home Monday night, where they'd had problems winning. They did it against the Portland Trail Blazers, one of the NBA's elite teams, two nights after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder here, too.
It was their fourth win in six games vs. Western Conference opponents, including the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors. The Wizards have a winning record for the first time since Oct. 31, 2009 and the first time in the career of All-Star point guard John Wall, who was drafted No. 1 overall in 2010.
After allowing the Blazers (34-14) to shoot 61% in the first half and getting shredded by Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Wizards (24-23) turned everything around in the second half. Wall finished with a team-high 22 points on 7-for-15 shooting, five assists, five rebounds and three steals. Trevor Ariza had 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting, including 4-for-7 on three-pointers, five rebounds and four assists. Marcin Gortat only had seven shot attempts for six points, but he led all rebounders with 11 and had five assists. He also had three offensive rebounds in the third -- after the Wizards only had one in the entire first half -- that led to five points for Ariza.
In Bradley Beal's second game since having his 30-minute restriction lifted coming off a stress injury to his lower right leg, he was sub-par. He shot just 5-for-16 to finish with 13 points in 34 minutes. But he led the Wizards with six assists.
Kevin Seraphin had his best game of the season off the bench with a high of 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting. Seraphin made the first two field goals of the fourth quarter to spark the Wizards to a strong finish.
Turning point: Trailing 55-47 in the second quarter after a jumper by Aldridge, Wall went on a tear and contributed to every point in a 9-0 run to go into halftime up 56-55. He made four free throws, a pull-up jump shot and added a kick-out assist as he penetrated the lane, drew the defense and found Ariza for an open three-pointer. That momentum carried over to the third quarter when the Wizards had a 26-14 edge and forced seven turnovers.
Key stats: The Wizards only had six turnovers, plus-10 in the category and had a 17-4 edge in points off giveaways. ... Their bench outscored Portland's 26-6.
From the locker room: "We changed a few things at halftime that got us more aggressive. And I just thought our effort, we were flying all over the place the last couple minutes of the game. To hold them to 35 in the second half was a big accomplishment by our guys. It was a team effort. We had different guys guarding different people. John was on Batum. Trev was caught on Lillard a lot. ... We were move the ball. That's when we're at our best. We had three or four different guys down the stretch who made a basket. It wasn't one guy that took over the game that got us those big baskets." -- Wizards coach Randy Wittman
"We didn't let them get into transition. We didn't let them get too many easy passes, just taking care of the ball and making sure we get up a shot every time. Even if it's a good shot or a bad shot, it's better that they have to rebound the ball instead of just getting out into the open court." -- Wall
"Our turnovers in the third quarter obviously hurt us and gave them momentum. ... Give Washington credit, they are playing well. They have beaten some good teams and they are playing with a lot of confidence." -- Blazers coach Terry Stotts
"(John Wall) played great. It wasn't a one-on-one matchup. John played a great game. He controlled his team like he has all season. He's knocking down that pull-up jumper, finding those guys and getting them easy buckets." -- Lillard
Up next: The Wizards will practice Tuesday and shoot around Wednesday at Verizon Center before playing the San Antonio Spurs later (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).