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Wizards overcome early deficit to down Mavs, 132-123
The Wizards have been looking for a spark that can be the beginning of a rally to a playoff spot. They may have started it Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. Just before embarking on a weekend road trip, Bradley Beal and co. used a hot night from the field to down the struggling Mavericks, 132-123.
Beal’s 30 points, eight assists and seven rebounds paced the Wizards on the night, while Trevor Ariza (22 points) and Jabari Parker (20 points, nine rebounds off the bench) helped shoulder the scoring load. Tomas Satoransky finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double with 14 points, 11 assists and eight boards.
In a game that lacked misses, the Wizards took advantage when they could as a team on the glass, out-rebounding Dallas by 10 and outscoring the Mavs in the paint 62-52. Washington made the most of offensive rebounds as well, scoring 27 second-chance points to help it to an efficient 53.8% night from the field on the whole.
“We don't do it [outrebound opponents] enough," said head coach Scott Brooks. "We have to rebound, we have to make them miss and rebound. Our record shows that we are 14-2 when we outrebound teams, and we did it tonight. Luka [Doncic] is pretty good. He's hard to stop. He goes where he wants to get to, he's strong bodied, he gets to the free-throw line and he makes plays. I thought we did a pretty good job on him. We made him miss a lot of shots. That was a good thing.”
Rookie star Luka Doncic (31 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds) and Justin Jackson (18 points off the bench) got the Mavericks off to a red-hot start from the field and an early double-digit lead. Dallas shot 69% from the field and over 50% from 3-point range in the first quarter to lead by as many as 13 points and take a 10-point lead into the second quarter.
Washington punched back in the second on both ends of the floor, led by nine points from Beal and eight apiece from Parker and Ariza. The Wizards returned the favor before the break, shooting 60% from the field en route to 36 points and cooling off the Mavericks, who scored just 22 points following a 43-point opening frame. That gave Washington a four-point lead to take into halftime.
The game evened out in the third, with both teams playing to a near stalemate. Doncic heated back up to score 13 points in the frame to steady Dallas offensively, and the Mavericks hit five 3-pointers in the quarter to keep pace with the efficient Wizards offensive output. Washington shot 63.2% in the frame, taking a three-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Dallas kept creating chances to win in the fourth, with Dwight Powell (10 of his 26 points and 11 rebounds in the quarter) leading the way. Beal’s fifth foul came with 4:17 to play, but a pair of Jeff Green (16 points) 3-pointers with just over two minutes to play were critical to create some breathing room – a seven-point lead – for the Wizards. Beal’s lay-in through traffic for a 3-point play sealed the Washington victory just after the clock ticked under two minutes.
Now with two straight wins, the Wizards face a road back-to-back with important playoff implications next. The first half in Charlotte on Friday night (7 P.M. ET tip-off) is the first of two remaining games this season against the Hornets, who are one of the three teams in Washington’s way for a playoff spot.
“Yes, we are in it," said Bradley Beal. "That is where we are. Our goal is to make the playoffs until the fat lady sings at the end of the year. We have to keep pushing forward and take it a game at a time. We try to go week-by-week. Try to get four games every week. So far we are 2-0, and we have 18 more games left or so maybe less, so we just have to make sure we are ready to go. We still have a great opportunity in front of us. We can win a lot of games and make some noise down the stretch.”
After Wednesday’s games, the Wizards now sit three games behind the No. 8 Heat and just two games behind Orlando and Charlotte, which are in a virtual tie for ninth.