The drought began as the Washington Wizards tried to squeeze out one final run with Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler and continued through an embarrassing fall and a painful rebuild around John Wall. It had become such a nagging obstacle this season that players tried to avoid the question and Marcin Gortat openly wondered whether a “curse” was holding them back.

But after all of that misery and frustration, a moment more than four years in the making arrived Monday at Verizon Center, where Wall gleefully dribbled around in a circle and pumped his fist as the closing seconds wound down and a sparse crowd stood to applaud a 100-90 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Wizards (24-23) have a winning record for the first time since Oct. 31, 2009 , and are above .500 this late in the season for the first time since the 2007-08 season — the last time the franchise reached the playoffs. Wall scored a team-high 22 points and heard “MVP!” chants as he made the final free throws of the game.

“It’s a humbling experience,” said Wall, the longest-tenured player on the team along with Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin. “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.”

With the win, Wall avoided a record he had no interest in owning. It took him until his 231st game, but he finally is on a team with a winning record. Joe Smith is the only No. 1 overall pick to play more games (241) to start his career without going above .500.

The Trail Blazers (34-14) came to Washington as the NBA’s highest-scoring team, but the Wizards have made a habit in recent weeks of shutting down some of the league's most explosive offenses. They held Phoenix to 95 points, Golden State to 85 and Oklahoma City to a season-low 81. Those teams all average more than 100 points per game.