Dallas Mavericks defensive struggles waste Luka Doncic masterpiece in loss to Wizards

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Washington Wizards 127-126 on Tuesday night, despite Luka Doncic scoring 41 points. He had 35 after three quarters, and the 23-year-old superstar was otherworldly at the American Airlines Center, but it was not enough. Doncic had a shot to win the game in the final seconds, but his pass was stolen by former Maverick Delon Wright to seal the Wizards win.

Kyle Kuzma went off against the Mavs on Jan. 24, and Bradley Beal closed the game strong to push Washington to victory. Kuzma had 30 points on 12 of 23 shooting from the field as Beal went for 22 points and four assists. Washington had six players in double figures as they pulled the upset in Dallas.

It was a special night for Doncic, but the Mavericks just could not get stops on Tuesday night. The Wizards had 99 after three quarters and went for 127 in the contest. Dallas shot over 52 percent from the field, but just 33.3 percent on their threes, and it was not enough. Here is a look back at Doncic’s performance before taking a glance at what is ahead.

Dallas Mavericks' defensive struggles waste Luka Doncic masterpiece in loss to Wizards

Doncic had it rolling from the opening tipoff on Tuesday night as he exploded for 15 first-quarter points. Just 94 players average more than 15 points per game this season, and number 77 scored that in 12 minutes of action.

He was far from done as Doncic pushed his scoring total to 35 after 36 minutes of action. Luka was locked in, and he was showcasing all of the tricks in his bag against the Wizards.

Doncic finished with 41 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, and one steal in 38 minutes of action. He made 16 of his 29 field goals and went nine of 12 from the free throw line. The Wizards were doubling and doing everything to force the ball out of Luka’s hands in the second half, but the Mavericks superstar was just unstoppable on Jan. 24.

Josh Green had one of the best games of his NBA career on Tuesday night as he went for 16 points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal in 32 minutes of action. Green made seven of his nine field goals. The 22-year-old was aggressive in attacking the basket, and Green’s improvements were on full display.

It was a track meet on Tuesday night, and the Mavericks' poor defense cost them against the Wizards. Dallas allowed 127 points, including 37 in the third quarter to fall for the seventh time in their last nine games. The Mavs need to pick up their defense if they want to get back on track. They cannot allow over 125 points every night or they are going to struggle down the stretch.

Doncic missed a go-ahead free throw with 12.5 seconds remaining in the game, and he fouled Kyle Kuzma for what turned out to be the game-winning free throw for the Wizards. Add in Luka's turnover on the final play, and it was a poor ending to an otherwise incredible night.

The Dallas Mavericks start a two-game road trip on Thursday night in Phoenix as they face the Suns. It is a TNT showcase contest with a 9:00 p.m. CT tipoff. Can Luka Doncic lead his team over the shorthanded Suns on the road? It will be a cannot miss contest, so please tune in and enjoy.

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