3 troublesome takeaways from Dallas Mavericks loss to shorthanded Wizards

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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Takeaway from Dallas Mavericks win over Wizards: 1. Defense

The Mavs played stout defense in Orlando, but they did not hit their shots in a bad loss to the shorthanded Magic. They did the opposite in the nation’s capital. Dallas made 18 3-pointers, but they gave up 113 points to the Wizards without Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis.

Head coach Jason Kidd has emphasized defense since joining the Mavericks in the summer of 2021, so he will not be happy with the team’s effort on Thursday night. Kyle Kuzma toasted the Mavs for 36 points, and the Wizards as a team shot 48.8 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from 3-point range.

There were too many defensive breakdowns to overcome, especially on the second night of a back-to-back set. The Mavericks were ninth in defensive rating coming into the game, but Thursday’s struggles did not help them.

Can coach Kidd get his team back to playing stout defense? They reached the conference finals last season on the back of their defense. They held the Jazz to 100 or fewer points four times in the first round of the playoffs, and the Suns had their three lowest-scoring games against the Mavericks in the conference semifinals. Dallas needs to defend well if they want to make another run, and that did not happen against the Wizards.

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The Dallas Mavericks dropped both games on their road trip, and now they head back to the DFW for a five-game homestand. Next up is a battle against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night, and fans know Luka Doncic and Damian Lillard always get into a scoring duel, so do not miss it.