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Beal, Wizards host Doncic, Mavericks
The Wizards and Mavericks will match up on Wednesday night, concluding Washington’s two-game homestand. Coming off a win over the Timberwolves on Sunday, the Wizards will look to win their third game in their last four. The Mavs have won 16 of the last 17 games in the all-time series between these two teams, including November’s game in Dallas. Both teams have gone through significant change since that game with trades and injuries.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 P.M. | NBC Sports Washington | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Tomas Satoransky, G – Bradley Beal, F – Trevor Ariza, F – Jeff Green, C – Bobby Portis
Mavericks: G – Luka Doncic, G – Jalen Brunson, F – Tim Hardaway Jr., F – Dirk Nowitzki, C – Dwight Powell
Wizards: Dwight Howard (aggravated gluteal soreness – out), John Wall (left Achilles tendon tear – out)
Mavericks: J.J. Barea (right Achilles surgery – out), Kristaps Porzingis (left knee surgery – out)
All eyes on Beal, Doncic
Bradley Beal continues to dominate since the All-Star break. In five games, the two-time All-Star is averaging 32.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game on 53.2% overall shooting, 36.4% from deep, and 93.5% from the line. Beal has scored 20 or more points in 17 straight games, the longest streak of his career. Like every opponent, Dallas’s defensive plan will start with Beal. For the Wizards, stopping Luka Doncic is the priority. The front-runner for Rookie of the Year, Doncic leads the Mavs with 20.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game on 43.4% overall shooting and 35.0% from 3-point. Both teams have elite players in the backcourt who can win games by themselves. Fellow European guard Tomas Satoransky matches up well size-wise with Doncic and has the tools and familiarity to slow him down.
Change in Dallas
On February 1, the Mavericks shocked the NBA world when they traded Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and two future first-round picks for Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Trey Burke. They also traded Harrison Barnes to Sacramento at the deadline. Since the Porzingis trade, the Mavs are 4-8, including losses in seven of their last eight games. They’ve lost all seven games by nine or more points. In those 12 games, the Mavs are shooting 41.8% from the field and 33.0% from beyond the arc. During that stretch, Dallas is launching 40.7 3-point attempts per game, up from its 35.9 attempts on the season. With new personnel in Hardaway Jr. and Lee and Jordan, Smith Jr., and Barnes gone, that increase is not surprising. The Mavs are playing smaller and even starting Dirk Nowitzki now. Overall, Dallas is 6-25 on the road this season, though four of their road wins have come in 2019.
Struggles against Mavs
Simply put, the Wizards have struggled against the Mavericks in recent seasons. The Mavericks have won 16 of the last 17 meetings, and 31 of the last 39 games overall. After practice on Tuesday, Tomas Satoransky pointed out that the Wizards have not beaten the Mavs since he’s been on the team. In fact, the Wizards’ only win during those 17 matchups came in Dallas in December 2015. It’s clear that the Wizards have circled this game as a win they want to have.