The Dallas Mavericks rode the roller coaster a bit again, building a big lead before letting the Washington Wizards right back in it in the fourth quarter. Fortunately things came together again and the Mavs held on for a 107-101 victory against a hapless and depleted Wizards team who nevertheless played hard and almost came back to win.
The Wizards stayed close early but the Mavericks built a head of steam and shot ahead by 18 points only to nearly succumb to a late fourth-quarter Wizard run. With a slim three point advantage and only :21 left, Chris Kaman made a final three-point play to extend the margin and seal the victory.
Kaman resumed his torrid pace and had his best night as a Maverick with 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting to go with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, a block and a steal. O. J. Mayo led the Mavericks with 25 points and Elton Brand also had his best night in a Dallas uniform with 11 points and 12 rebounds. It was the same story for Jae Crowder and Troy Murphy, both of whom shot well and along with Kaman, Mayo and Brand, helped to overcome poor shooting nights for Darren Collison and Vince Carter. After losing three in a row, Rick Carlisle revamped the starting lineup by inserting Kaman and Dahntay Jones, substituting for the injured Shawn Marion.
In a move yet to be explained, Brandan Wright not only didn’t start, he didn’t enter the game at all. Wright has been playing well with a very high field goal percentage and blocking shots but his rebounding numbers remain weak.
The Wizards were led by Jordan Crawford with 21 points and 7 assists. With the Detroit Pistons posting their first victory, the Wizards remain the only winless franchise in the NBA this season and with no timetable for the return of John Wall or Nene, things aren’t looking good.
Detailed game analysis coming up on The Smoking Cuban.