Image Credit: @MavsPR Twitter
On Saturday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Washington Wizards on the second night of a back-to-back. The Mavericks are hoping to extend their winning streak to four games with a win in this matchup. The Mavericks are also looking to finish their five game road trip strong.
On Friday, the Dallas Mavericks played the New York Knicks in the first game in the month of April. The Mavericks started this game a little bit sluggish as this was a defensive battle with both teams playing good defense. The Knicks were making things tough on the Mavericks but allowed the Mavericks to generate a 49-46 halftime lead. In the second half, the Mavericks picked up the pace and started to get their offense rolling by getting some good quality shots to go down. The Knicks tried to play good defense while hoping their offense would transition to some points but that didn’t seem to be the case as the Mavericks would go on to beat the Knicks 99-86. Luka Doncic scored 26 points in the hard fought win. The Mavericks were without head coach Rick Carlisle as he tested positive for Covid-19 thus allowing assistant coach Jamahl Mosley to serve as the “acting head coach” for this game and got his first victory as a head coach. In his return to New York, Kristaps Porzingis was booed heavily every time he touched the ball throughout the game but provided the Mavericks 14 points in the win. The Mavericks also got production from Jalen Brunson as he scored 15 points off the bench to help pick up the slack. With the win, the Mavericks record improved to 26-21 on the season, as they are still the seventh seed in the western conference standings. The Mavericks also were able to grab the first win in the month of April.
The Washington Wizards are coming into this game by going 3-7 in their last 10 games. They are recently coming off a 120-91 loss against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday to see their record drop to 17-30 on the season. The Wizards were coming into this season with some hopes of trying to make the playoffs but gotten off to a slow start to begin the season. The Wizards are currently the twelfth seed in the eastern conference standings as they still have a shot at climbing back in the playoff race with being six games out from the eighth seed. This team is led by Bradley Beal as they look to generate some wins to see if they could sneak their way to a eighth seed in the eastern conference. The Wizards are at the point in their season where they cannot afford to lose any more games otherwise they would be out of reach for the eighth seed in the eastern conference.
Coming into this game, this would be the first time the Mavericks played the Washington Wizards this season. The Mavericks previously split their regular season series last season 1-1 against the Wizards. Overall, the Mavericks hold the all-time series with a record of 44-33.
The Mavericks started this game by having their head coach, Rick Carlisle, return to the sidelines as his COVID-19 re-test was deemed a “false positive” thus allowing him to return to the team. However, they will be without Willie Cauley-Stein (health and safety protocols, Maxi Kleber (left leg contusion), Kristaps Porzingis (injury recovery, right knee), JJ Redick (right heel soreness), Tyrell Terry (personal reasons) and Josh Richardson (calf) for this game. As a result, the Mavericks went with Doncic, Melli (his first start with the Mavericks), Hardaway Jr, Finney-Smith and Marjanovic as their starting five in this game. The first points in the game would belong to Boban Marjanovic as he nailed a two pointer for the Mavericks to get this game underway. The Wizards wouldn’t get their first points until the 11:27 mark as Russell Westbrook drilled a jump shot to tie the game at 2-2. The Wizards would have their first lead in the game after Davis Bertans drilled a three pointer to take a 5-4 lead with 9:50 left in the quarter. The Mavericks would soon build a six point lead after Luka Doncic nailed a driving layup to take a 11-5 lead with 8:05 left in the quarter. The Wizards would generate some stops on defense as they were able to cut their deficit to two points after Davis Bertans nailed a layup to come within 11-9 of the Mavericks with 7:03 left in the quarter. The Wizards would call a timeout with 6:48 left in the quarter as the Mavericks lead was 11-9. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks got some shots to fall down as they made five of their first eleven attempts taken while the Wizards had a tough time getting their shots to fall as they only made four of their first ten attempts taken thus far. Coming out of the timeout, the Wizards turned to Deni Avdija but couldn’t convert as he missed a three pointer that kept the score at 12-9 with 6:23 left in the quarter (Luka Doncic made one free-throw prior to this Wizards possession). Both teams would go on scoring droughts until Tim Hardaway Jr nailed a floating jump shot to extend their lead to 16-11 with 4:21 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were able to extend their lead to six points after Dwight Powell drilled a three pointer to take a 19-13 lead with 3:36 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were able to take a 24-19 lead into the second quarter. The game leading scorer after one quarter of play would belong to Luka Doncic as he scored 10 points for the Mavericks. The Wizards were led by Davis Bertans as he scored 5 points. The Mavericks got off to a solid start to begin the game by getting some shots to fall down but couldn’t finish the whole quarter which allowed the Wizards to settle in the game. The Mavericks were shooting 40% on 10-of-25 shooting from the field.
The second quarter would begin by having Jalen Brunson nail a layup, after a steal, for the Mavericks to get this quarter underway. The Wizards wouldn’t get their first points in the quarter until the 11:02 mark as Raul Neto nailed a step-back three pointer to come within 26-22 of the Mavericks. The Mavericks were able to extend their lead to seven points after Dorian Finney-Smith drilled a three pointer to take a 29-22 lead with 10:02 left in the quarter. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 8:38 left in the quarter after the Wizards were able to cut their deficit to 29-28. Prior to this timeout, the Wizards were able to make four of their first seven attempts to begin the quarter to chip away the Mavericks lead, while the Mavericks had a tough time getting shots to fall as they only made two of their first seven attempts taken to begin the quarter. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Tim Hardaway Jr as he was able to finish a “three point play” after making the basket while being fouled and making the “AND-ONE” free-throw to extend their lead to 32-28 with 8:25 left in the quarter. The Wizards were able to comeback and make it a one point game again after Russell Westbrook made one free-throw to make it 32-31 with 7:40 left in the quarter. The game found its way to be tied after Robin Lopez made a “hook shot” to tie the game at 33-33 with 7:02 left in the quarter. The game would be un-tied by the Mavericks after Jalen Brunson finished off the “three point play” after making the “AND ONE” free-throw to take a 38-35 lead with 5:30 left in the quarter. Nicolo Melli would get his first points in the game for the Mavericks after making a 6-foot shot to extend their lead to 42-37 with 4:05 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were able to maintain control of their lead and took a 52-47 lead into halftime. The game leading scorer after two quarters of play would belong to Luka Doncic, Robin Lopez and Russell Westbrook as they scored 14 points for their respective teams. This was a back-and-forth quarter by both teams as they were “copying each other” thus not allowing momentum to fall to either team. The Mavericks finished the first half by shooting 42.9% on 21-of-49 shooting from the field. The Mavericks were getting dominated in the paint by the Wizards as the Wizards out-scored the Mavericks 28-18 in points in the paint in the first half.
Coming out of the half, the Mavericks were able to get on the board first in the third quarter by having Boban Marjanovic tip the ball in the hoop to extend their lead to 54-47. Russell Westbrook was able to score the first points in the quarter for the Wizards as he nailed a “bank shot” with 10:14 left in the quarter to come within 57-49 of the Mavericks. The Mavericks were able to extend their lead to twelve points after Luka Doncic nailed a layup off a steal to take a 61-49 lead that forced the Wizards to call a timeout with 8:18 left in the quarter. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks offense started to get on a roll as they made three of their first seven attempts to begin the quarter, meanwhile, the Wizards offense had gone completely cold as they only made one shot in their first seven attempts taken thus far. The Mavericks were able to start the quarter on a 9-2 scoring run to maintain control of the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Wizards turned to Davis Bertans as he was able to convert on a three pointer to come within 61-52 of the Mavericks with 8:03 left in the quarter. Dorian Finney-Smith would soon answer the Wizards’ three pointer by making one of his own to get the Mavericks lead back to twelve points with the score 64-52 with 7:07 left in the quarter. The Wizards would generate a 8-2 scoring run to try to inch closer to the Mavericks after Robin Lopez nailed a hook to come within 66-60 of the Mavericks with 5:14 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were able to stop the Wizards threat by having Tim Hardaway Jr drill a three pointer to extend their lead to 69-60 with 3:30 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were able to maintain control of their lead to take a 75-67 lead into the fourth quarter. The game leading scorer after three quarters of play would belong to Luka Doncic as he scored 22 points for the Mavericks. The Wizards were led by Russell Westbrook as he scored 20 points. The Mavericks started to pull away from the Wizards but the Wizards weren’t going to away that easy as they were still within range of the Mavericks. Through three quarters of play, the Mavericks were shooting 42.3% on 30-of-71 shooting from the field. The Wizards were still torching the Mavericks in the paint as they out-scored the Mavericks 38-26 through three quarters of play in points in the paint.
The fourth quarter would begin by having Dorian Finney-Smith nail a three pointer for the Mavericks to get this quarter underway. The Wizards weren’t able to get their first points in the quarter until the 11:10 mark by having Russell Westbrook nail a put-back shot to come within 78-69 of the Mavericks. A technical foul would be called on Raul Neto for arguing with the Officials that resulted in Jalen Brunson nailing the technical foul free-throw with 10:16 left in the game to extend their lead to 83-69. The Mavericks began the quarter by going on a 8-2 scoring run as that would help prevent the Wizards from creating any type of comeback to try to erase the Mavericks lead. The Wizards would need to get their offense going while getting some stops on defense if they wanted to have any shot at winning this game. A scary moment would happen in the game after the Wizards fouled Luka Doncic hard that resulted in him landing extremely awkward as he fell back with his knee bent. Thankfully, Luka Doncic would get up on his own as the Officials would go to the monitor to see if it was deemed flagrant with 9:07 left in the game. If that was me that saw the Wizards foul Luka Doncic that hard, I would’ve stormed the court as nobody messes with OUR LUKA. After the review, the Officials would rule the foul NOT DEEMED flagrant thus giving Luka Doncic just two free-throws in which he missed them both that kept the score at 83-71 with 9:07 left in the game. The Mavericks would soon go on a “mini” 4-2 scoring run after Luka Doncic made a driving layup to extend their lead to 87-73 with 8:06 left in the game. DORIAN FINNEY-SMITH WOULD SLAM THE BALL WITH AUTHORITY AS HE SLAM DUNKED THE BALL WITH ONE HAND TO EXTEND THEIR LEAD TO 89-75 WITH 7:18 LEFT IN THE GAME. GET OUT OF DORIAN FINNEY-SMITH’S WAY!! As that was a nasty dunk to give the Mavericks some momentum for the reminder of the game. The Wizards would call a timeout with 6:25 left as they saw the Mavericks generate a 89-77 lead. Prior to this timeout, both teams were answering each other’s shots which benefits the Mavericks as they had the lead and time on their side. Coming out of the timeout, the Wizards turned to Davis Bertans as he was able to convert on a jump shot to cut their deficit to ten points as the Mavericks led 89-79 with 6:16 left in the game. The Mavericks were able to extend their lead to 15 points after Jalen Brunson nailed two free-throws to extend their lead to 95-80 with 4:25 left in the game. The Mavericks appeared to be well on their way for a victory with the time on their side and not allowing the Wizards to create some sort of threat.
This team looked like they wanted to play to the Wizards level as the Mavericks couldn’t play “their” style of basketball but led the Wizards 52-47 at halftime. The Mavericks need to finish this game strong by getting their offense to wake up and be consistent otherwise this will be a devastating loss with the western conference getting better and better. Both teams weren’t allowing the momentum to fall to either team and this was a game that would come down to who is the most consistent on offense.
In the end, it was the Dallas Mavericks defeating the Washington Wizards 109-87 despite having the Mavericks be without key players. The Mavericks record would improve to 27-21 on the season. Luka Doncic finished the game with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in the win. The Wizards were led by Russell Westbrook as he finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds. In his first game starting as a Dallas Maverick, Nicolo Melli finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds in the game. The Mavericks also got production from Jalen Brunson as he scored 19 points off the bench. 6 players from the Mavericks scored 10+ points including all five of their starters. With the win, the Mavericks were able to extend their winning streak to 4 games as they begin the month of April 2-0. Since February 6th, 2021, the Mavericks record is now 18-7 with this win.
The Mavericks ended their five game road trip with a record of 4-1 and will get some rest to come back home to face the Utah Jazz at the American Airlines Center on Monday. This will be the first home game for the Mavericks in the month of April.