WASHINGTON — No, confetti didn’t fall from the rafters, and there’s no parade scheduled for Pennsylvania Avenue.
But John Wall pumped his right arm and smiled broadly as he dribbled out the clock, and the first word out of Bradley Beal’s mouth when he addressed the crowd said it all: “Finally.”
The Washington Wizards celebrated what they hope is the end of mediocrity Monday night, moving above .500 for the first time in more than four years with a 100-90 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
“It’s only one game over, but, yeah, it’s a big relief,” said Wall, who has endured more than his share of Wizards frustration since his selection as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft. “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.”
Wall scored 22 points, and Trevor Ariza added 20 and had another solid defensive game for the Wizards, who hadn’t had a winning record since beating the New Jersey Nets to improve to 2-1 on Halloween in 2009. Washington committed six turnovers while forcing 16 from Portland, and Wall and Co. didn’t look back after Kevin Seraphin led a 12-0 run that put the Wizards up by 17 early in the fourth quarter.
“It’s great to finally get this team over the hump,” Beal said.
The Trail Blazers arrived averaging a league-best 108.3 points and shot 61 percent in the first half, but Portland was 6 for 17 from the field with seven turnovers in the decisive third quarter as Washington’s defense again held its own against a more celebrated lineup.
The Trail Blazers cut the deficit to six on a layup by LaMarcus Aldridge with 1:12 remaining, but Nene answered with a jumper to give the Wizards a 98-90 lead.
Damian Lillard scored 25 points, and Aldridge had 20 to lead the Trail Blazers, who have lost four straight road games. They could care less about Washington’s over-.500 benchmark, but they know one thing for certain: The Wizards are a better team these days.
“Give Washington credit,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “They are playing well, they’ve beaten some good teams, and they are playing with a lot of confidence.”
Also on Monday:
Thunder 86, Grizzlies 77: OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant had 31 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, Serge Ibaka had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Oklahoma City continued its home dominance, beating Memphis.
Pacers 98, Magic 79: INDIANAPOLIS — Danny Granger scored 16 points, Paul George and Lance Stephenson each added 15, and Indiana beat Orlando.
Heat 102, Pistons 96: MIAMI — LeBron James came within two rebounds of his first triple-double this season, and Miami won for the fifth time in six games.
Nets 108, 76ers 102: NEW YORK — Paul Pierce scored 25 points, Deron Williams added 21 and Brooklyn stopped a three-game losing streak.
Spurs 102, Pelicans 95: NEW ORLEANS — Tony Parker scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half and also doled out nine assists, and San Antonio overcame a 14-point deficit.
Bucks 101, Knicks 98: MILWAUKEE — Brandon Knight made a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left and finished with 25 points, and Milwaukee snapped a six-game losing streak.
Nuggets 116, Clippers 115: DENVER — Randy Foye hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer, and Denver overcame a 36-point performance by Blake Griffin to beat the Los Angeles Clippers.
Mavericks 124, Cavaliers 107: DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points, Devin Harris had a season-high 16 and Dallas pulled away from Cleveland, handing the Cavaliers their fifth straight loss.
Raptors 94, Jazz 79: SALT LAKE CITY — DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 18 to help Toronto turn back Utah for its fourth win in five games.
Kings 99, Bulls 70: SACRAMENTO, Calif. — DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 16 rebounds to help Sacramento snap a seven-game losing streak by defeating Chicago.