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FINAL: WIZARDS 120 | MAVERICKS 114
WIZARDS: Bradley Beal (26), Kyle Kuzma (22), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (16)
MAVERICKS: Luka Doncic (33), Trey Buke (14), Maxi Kleber (13), Kristaps Porzingis (13),
The Wizards earned their second win in a row, defeating the Mavericks 120-114 on Saturday night in the second game of a road back-to-back. Bradley Beal led the way with 26 points on 10-14 (.714) shooting. As a team, the Wizards shot 45-85 (.577) from the field, their second-highest field goal percentage of the season. It marks the second time this season the Wizards have gone 2-0 in a back-to-back.
Both offenses were hot early, each shooting over 60.0% from the field in the first five minutes of the game. Beal started the night 7-7 (1.000) across the first and second quarters and scored 13 of Washington’s first 26 points. A Daniel Gafford dunk off an assist from Beal gave the Wizards the lead with just over eight minutes left in the first quarter – a lead they would not relent until the 7:15 mark of the second. Washington scored 41 points in the first quarter, tied for the most they’ve scored in any quarter this season. Dallas dominated the second quarter, using runs of 11-2 and 7-0 to turn a seven-point Wizards lead into an eight-point halftime lead of their own. The Wizards missed all six 3-point attempts while the Mavericks shot 15-26 (.577) from the field in the second.
A 14-5 Wizards’ run, capped by a 3-pointer from Kuzma, gave Washington a 77-76 lead with 6:23 left in the third quarter. Raul Neto scored 10 of his 13 points in the third, leading a Wizards offense that shot 11-20 (.550) from the field and 4-8 (.500) from deep. The teams traded blows over the next few minutes before a 7-0 Dallas run gave the Mavericks a 97-91 lead less than a minute into the fourth. Beal gave the Wizards a 104-102 lead with under six minutes to go on a crafty driving layup. After Doncic scored his 31st point of the night to tie the game at 109, Kuzma buried a clutch 3-pointer from the corner to give Washington a 112-109 advantage. A put-back dunk from Gafford and a mid-range jumper from Caldwell-Pope on the following possessions helped the Wizards seal the win down the stretch.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Beal leads the way with Dinwiddie out
Aaron Holiday once against got the start in place of Spencer Dinwiddie, who rested as part of his right knee injury maintenance plan put in place before the season – and scored five of his seven points in the opening minutes of the game. It was Beal, however, who led the way with the Wizards down a starting point guard. Beal played one of his best all-around games of the year, totaling 26 points on an efficient 10-14 (714) to go along with five rebounds and seven assists and finished the night plus-15. Beal knocked down his first seven shots and did not miss a field goal until the final minute of the first half. The 26-point performance marks the sixth time this season Beal has scored 25-plus points in a game and his 71.4% field goal percentage is his highest of the year.
Wizards dominate the paint
While Beal manned the backcourt, Kuzma and Gafford put on one of their best tandem performances of the season from the frontcourt. Kuzma scored 22 points on 7-14 (.500) from the field and 3-6 (.500) from three and finished one rebound shy of his eighth double-double of the season. Gafford, coming off a career-best eight-block game against the Thunder on Friday, recorded the first double-double of his career: 14 points on 6-7 (.857) shooting and 10 rebounds. The Wizards scored 60 of their 120 points in the paint, tied for their second-most of the season, and allowed just 46 on the other end.
Doncic does it all
After totaling 15 points and four assists in the first quarter, it looked as if Luka Doncic’s night might end early. He hobbled to the bench in the final moments of the opening frame and wrapped his lower leg in ice. A few minutes into the second quarter, however, he returned, and added another two points and four assists before the half. Doncic, who entered the game as the only player in the NBA averaging over 25.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game, finished the night with a game-high 33 points, four rebounds and 10 assists.