Preview: Slumping Mavs try to end losing skid against lowly Wizards
Earl K. Sneed reports from Washington, D.C. and previews the Dallas Mavericks' matchup against the league-worst Washington Wizards, as the Mavs try to bring an end to their six-game losing streak.
Preview: Mavericks (12-19) at Wizards (4-24)
Slumping Mavs try to end losing skid against lowly Wizards
Exactly eight days away from a year ago, the Dallas Mavericks journeyed to the nation’s capital to celebrate the first NBA title in franchise history alongside President Barack Obama at the White House. Tuesday evening, the Mavericks (12-19) will kick-start 2013 in D.C. looking to bring an end to a six-game losing streak.
Facing the league-worst Washington Wizards in the first matchup of the new year to begin a back-to-back on the road that concludes in Miami against the defending champion Heat, the Mavs figure to have a chance to bring their current skid to an end. Still, with his team admittedly exhibiting lackluster play with all six of the consecutive losses coming against playoff teams from a season ago, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle isn’t overlooking Tuesday’s opponent despite the fact that the Wizards (4-24) have lost nine of their last 10 games while still playing without third-year point guard John Wall due to a patella injury.
That will especially ring true after the Mavs had to scratch and claw their way to a 107-101 home win over the Wizards back on Nov. 14.
“We're all in it together. That's the bottom line,” Carlisle said. “There's a foxhole and we're in it right now, and it’s 15 players and however many coaches and our GM and our owner and we’re gonna battle our [tail] off to get out and it’s not easy. Washington’s got a bad record, but they’ve been in virtually every game and I can’t say the same for us. So that’s a team we’re gonna have to respect [Tuesday], and we’re playing on their home court, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
He added: “We’re going to stay positive as a staff and we’re going to encourage those guys to stay positive. There’s a lot of little things right now that are adding up to a sum total of things that turn out to be bigger things and we’ve got to keep working at suring those things up. Little things like the untimely turnovers, the missed rebounds, some of the decision-making at just the wrong time, so we’ll keep studying it, we’ll keep coaching it, those guys will keep working on it and we’re going to get better.”
The Mavs are seven games below .500 for the first time since April 6, 2000, falling to a 111-86 home loss Sunday to San Antonio to continue their downward slide despite committing just 11 turnovers and outrebounding the Spurs in the defeat. Now, they’ll try to avoid their first seven-game losing streak since Feb. 9-19, 1999, hoping to capitalize off the team with the worst shooting percentage in the league, as the Wizards enter the night hitting just 40.6 percent from the field on the season.
“We can’t pinpoint it right now,” forward Shawn Marion said. “You can look at a lot of different scenarios and situations, but at the end of the day this is very frustrating for all of us and this hurts. The good thing about [Sunday] is we only had 11 turnovers. But the bad thing is we couldn’t get a win. When you only turn the ball over 11 times and you outrebound a team and you have more assists than a team, you usually win. But that wasn’t the case [Sunday].”
“We’re going to keep on working and getting better as we go,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki added. “Unfortunately this is a tough stretch here. You know, we had the easiest schedule in basketball in November and here lately it’s been murder. We knew that this was going to get tough eventually, and this is definitely a very, very tough stretch. We’ve got to pull together. If you lose and get frustrated more, you have to pull together and somehow pull out of it.”
Note: The Mavericks will return to action for the start of a two-game road trip to welcome in 2013, touching down in the nation’s capital for a battle against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. The game will air locally at 5 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest.