Mavericks vs. Wizards
Monta Ellis scores 23 points and Vince Carter adds 13 points as the Mavericks get the road win over the Wizards 87-78.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Entering 2014 flying high after back-to-back wins, the Dallas Mavericks stepped into the Verizon Center confident that they could finish their three-game road trip on a positive note.
Still buzzing after Monday night’s 100-98 win in Minnesota, the Mavericks turned their attention to Wednesday’s matchup against a Washington Wizards team that had won five of its previous six outings. With an opportunity to begin the new year with a victory, the Mavs tried to surge six games over .500 for the first time since finishing the lockout-shortened ’11-12 season with a 36-30 record. And after surviving a game that featured 17 different lead changes, the Mavericks (19-13) notched their fourth straight win away from home, returning to Dallas with an unbeaten road trip after an 87-78 victory.
“We came on this road trip with a goal of going 3-0 and we did that,” starting shooting guard Monta Ellis said of the win. “We did whatever was necessary the whole road trip, and it’s just showing that we’re getting better and we’re starting to play together and helping each other out on defense. That’s the biggest thing for us.”
Looking to replicate a 105-95 home win on Nov. 12 and attempting to get off to a fast start, the Mavericks hoped to come out clicking on all cylinders. However, with 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki limping to the locker room after coming down awkwardly during the team’s first possession of the game with 11:06 remaining in the opening quarter, the Mavs would be forced to play without their go-to scorer.
“I just rolled my left ankle for probably the 200th time in my career,” Nowitzki later joked. “You know, just walked to the back, got it re-raped, tried to walk it off a little bit, popped some pills, came back out and tried to finish the game.”
However, with Nowitzki getting his left ankle re-taped, the visiting Mavericks would quickly fall into an 11-3 hole to start the game. But it would be just a brief scare as Nowitzki returned at the 7:20 mark of the first quarter. His teammates then picked up the hobbled superstar, staging a 15-4 run to take the lead as point guard Jose Calderon and four-time All-Star forward Shawn Marion took control of the scoring responsibilities to slide into the second stanza with a 25-20 edge.
After holding the Wizards (14-15) to just 8-of-24 shooting in the first 12 minutes of play, the Mavs turned the game over to their reserves in the second quarter. Nowitzki and the starters then returned to the floor as Ellis made amends for his 3-of-14 night in Minnesota. Meanwhile, former No. 1 overall pick John Wall led the Wizards back into the game with his dribble penetration. The cat-quick point guard then lifted the home team into the halftime break with a 42-39 lead.
Led by Wall’s 13 first-half points on 5-of-9 shooting, the Wizards seized the advantage at the intermission while connecting on just 40 percent from the field, holding the Mavericks to 38.1 percent at the other end. Washington also overcame its 11 turnovers, sprinting to a 9-2 advantage in fast-break points and holding a 25-21 rebounding margin at the midway mark.
Wright Takes Flight
Vince Carter makes the interior pass finding Brandan Wright in the lane who elevates high for the two-hand flush.
With Ellis back on the attack, the Mavericks tried to keep the Wizards within their grasp as the third period got underway. However, after a jumper by second-year sharpshooter Bradley Beal, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was forced to call timeout with his team down 51-43 and 7:38 left in the quarter.
Frustration would then get the better of Carlisle as he was assessed a technical foul call for arguing with officials as 5:42 remained in the third. Ellis and sixth man Vince Carter would respond to their coach’s call to action, briefly pulling the Mavs in front on the scoreboard. Still, thanks to Wall’s continued assault on the Dallas defense, the Mavericks found themselves on the downside of a 61-59 score entering the fourth.
With both teams exchanging scores and the lead early in the final period, the Mavs handed the offensive duties over to backup big man Brandan Wright. Nowitzki then tried to come to life, shaking off his aching ankle injury and sluggish shooting night.
“Well, it was obvious that I wasn’t moving well. I didn’t get any elevation on my jumper, but I was an expensive decoy today and I was trying to just spread the floor for the guys,” Nowitzki said of his 3-of-14 night.
But, after Beal and Wall again put the Wizards on top, it would be Carter and Wright that would keep the Mavs afloat. Ellis then went back to work, converting Nowitzki’s assist into a layup to put the Mavericks up 79-74 with 2:14 left to play.
Clutch free throws by DeJuan Blair and Ellis in the final minute then put the finishes touches on the victory as the Mavericks left the Wizards’ floor with a clean sweep of their road trip.
“We stayed with it,” Ellis said while summing up the night. “We played good team defense at the end, came out with some big rebounds and we hit shots at the other end.”
Leading the way to the win with 23 points on 7-of-18 shooting and adding five rebounds, Ellis bounced back from his disappointing showing Monday night.
“I thought tonight was Monta Ellis’ best game with us,” Carlisle said with high praise for the newcomer. “He had such great command of the game offensively. He was under control. He was finding people. He only had one assist, but he kept making the pass that led to the pass that led to the assist and he made big plays. His string of free throws to end the game was a decisive factor. He played terrific. We had a lot of guys that played well and everybody played hard. That’s the important thing.”
“As far as me getting into the lane and making great decisions, I would say this is up there. But the biggest thing is that we came out with the win,” Ellis said while turning the attention off of his individual performance.
Off the bench, Carter pitched in 13 points. Meanwhile, Calderon finished a 3-of-14 game with 11 points in the first unit and Wright added 10 points in a reserve role.
Wall led four Wizards in double figures with 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting, collecting seven rebounds and dishing out five assists to boot. But the Mavs’ 38.5 percent shooting just bettered the Wizards’ 37.5 percent, scoring 16 points off the Wizards’ 19 turnovers and giving up 15 points off their own 15 giveaways. The Mavs overcame Washington’s 46-44 rebounding edge as well, while Trevor Booker finished with 19 boards.
“It was such a competitive game that whoever won was going to be the survivor and that’s what we were,” Carlisle concluded. “I give them a lot of credit. Their team has improved massively. Their young guys have grown and they have a chance to be the fourth or fifth seed in the East. … We just hung in. When we got down eight in the second half it didn’t look great, but we were able to get a couple of buckets, get a little of the momentum back and hang in.”
He added: “We really felt we could gain some ground on this trip, but we knew we had to play the right way, we had to play together, we had to play hard and that there were going to be a lot of tough stretches where we would have to play through some tough calls and shot-making binges by the opponent and all that stuff. And we did, so now we get to go home for a few games and we’ll reconvene there and get ready for the next one.”
Note: The Mavs will now return to American Airlines Center Friday night, playing host to the Los Angeles Clippers to begin a three-game homestand. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.
Dirk Nowitzki Injury
Dirk Nowitzki steps on John Wall's foot and rolls his ankle, he would leave the game for treatment but return later.
|S. Marion, F||30||4-7||0-1||1-2||4||5||9||4||1||1||4||0||6||9|
|D. Nowitzki, F||31||3-14||0-4||3-3||1||4||5||4||1||0||2||2||8||9|
|S. Dalembert, C||18||1-3||0-0||0-0||3||4||7||0||1||0||1||2||-8||2|
|M. Ellis, G||37||7-18||0-2||9-10||2||3||5||1||1||2||1||2||6||23|
|J. Calderon, G||32||3-14||3-10||2-2||0||6||6||3||2||0||0||1||2||11|
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|T. Ariza, F||33||3-14||1-7||1-1||1||3||4||2||2||1||0||3||-15||8|
|T. Booker, F||30||5-9||0-0||0-0||7||12||19||1||1||1||1||0||1||10|
|M. Gortat, C||26||6-11||0-0||0-0||0||5||5||2||0||2||1||2||8||12|
|B. Beal, G||29||4-13||2-5||0-1||1||1||2||3||3||0||2||2||6||10|
|J. Wall, G||41||8-18||1-6||5-5||3||4||7||5||1||0||7||3||-5||22|
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Responding to his own lackluster performance last Thursday night, four-time All-Star Shawn Marion has since been the lead catalyst behind the Dallas Mavericks’ 2-0 start to their three-game road trip.
Finishing a 1-of-9 shooting performance the night after Christmas with just four points in the Mavericks’ 116-107 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Marion has come back in a big way, tallying 14 points and 13 rebounds Saturday night against Chicago before posting a season-high 32 points Monday at Minnesota. And with the versatile forward coming off his highest-scoring outing since dropping 34 points for the Toronto Raptors back on April 15, 2009, the Mavericks (18-13) may again need to lean on Marion in order to complete the sweep of their road trip Wednesday night in the nation’s capital against the Washington Wizards.
“Just taking what’s given to me,” Marion modestly said of his recent play. “My teammates are finding me in great spots and we’re just looking for each other even more.”
“The last two games I think you can tell he’s confident,” Mavs shooting guard Monta Ellis added in regard to Marion’s resurgence. “I think he’s more tuned in to being disrespected by other teams leaving him that way, so he’s been working on his game and it’s paying off the last two games.”
The end result has been two notches in the win column for the Mavericks, who are looking to build off their 105-83 throttling in Chicago and 100-98 victory over the Timberwolves Wednesday night. With that said, it was Marion’s defensive prowess that finished off the win in Minnesota, causing Kevin Love’s game-tying attempt to misfire in the final seconds to secure the win.
“Shawn was the key to the game, no question about it,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “If we’re giving out game balls, it’d be two game balls in a row for him. His activity was great, he played both ends of the floor, and we didn’t run one play for him. He just produced.”
The Mavericks will again need Marion’s production as they try to slow down John Wall and the Wizards (14-14) in a New Year’s Day duel.
Wall had 29 points and seven assists to help Washington get to .500 following a sweep of its home-and-home series with a 106-99 road victory Monday in Detroit. The Wizards now have an even record for the first time since finishing the ’07-08 season with a 43-39 mark. And with the Washington team out to avenge the Mavs’ 105-95 home win on Nov. 12, fireworks figure to spark as both teams enter the game having won their last two outings.
Note: The Mavericks will end their road trip and begin 2014 in the nation’s capital, taking on the Washington Wizards New Year’s Day at the Verizon Center. The Mavs lead the season series 1-0 after a 105-95 home win on Nov. 12. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 5 p.m. CT.
The Mavs return to American Airlines Center Friday night, playing host to the Los Angeles Clippers. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.