With their 100-90 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, the Washington Wizards are 24-23 on the season. Now, this might not seem like a tremendous accomplishment, given that they are a modest fifth-place in the Eastern Conference and would not even be a playoff team with that mark in the West. In Washington, though, this is big. This is history!
.511 #wizards— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) February 4, 2014
The Wizards had seven prior opportunities to go above .500 this season, but failed each time. The last time Washington had a winning record was during the first week of the 2009-2010 season:
The last time the Wizards were over .500? October 31, 2009. Here's the boxscore of that game pic.twitter.com/N3RRhRajxl— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) February 4, 2014
The streak of 355 games without eclipsing .500 was far and away the longest streak in the NBA. The Milwaukee Bucks, who last had a winning record 63 games ago, are now owners of that dubious distinction, via the Elias Sports Bureau.
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post used Basketball-Reference to compile a list of every player who donned a Wizards uniform between then and now. There were 62, including Morris Almond, Edwin Ubiles, Earl Barron, Earl Boykins, Mike James, Mike Harris and many, many more.
Yes, this means that this is the first time that John Wall has been over .500 in his NBA career. Wall scored 22 points against Portland and the All-Star heard the fans at the Verizon Center chanting his name as he hit free throws at the end of the game.
"It's a humbling experience," Wall said, via the Washington Post's Michael Lee. "It's only one game over, but yeah, it's a big relief. We've got bigger goals to try to keep winning games and try to not to go back down so we won't have to have this talk again."
Washington coach Randy Wittman, who Lee noted had himself not been over .500 since his Minnesota Timberwolves won their first game of 2008-2009, said that now he wants his team to get on a roll. The Wizards' longest winning streak of the season is three games, and they are now building on a pair of huge victories -- two days before dispatching of the Blazers, they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder by 15 points.
In both games, Washington's defense was excellent. It will face another tough Western Conference opponent when the San Antonio Spurs come to town on Wednesday.
"We can't just get stuck on .500," Wizards big man Nene said, via Lee. "When you dream, you need to dream big."