The Wizards seemed to get back on the right track in Miami on Friday night, keeping pace with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Super Friends through three quarters, and competing through the final buzzer. Saturday night Washington has a chance to build on that effort, back in their own building against some old friends on the Mavericks.
The Mavericks beat the Wizards 102-92 in Dallas on Jan. 31 in the first meeting between the teams this season. This time, former Wizards Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson are back in Washington along with the rest of the Mavericks, who hold the second best record in the Western Conference.
Andray Blatche is out for the second straight game with a hip injury, which I guess is good to hear since he was munching on stadium popcorn in the locker room before the game. That would probably not have been a nutritious pregame meal. Against Miami, JaVale McGee did a strong job holding down the interior without Blatche. McGee had 18 points and grabbed 17 boards playing next to the more perimeter oriented Rashard Lewis, who moved over to power forward.
The Wizards will continue to integrate trade deadline acquisitions Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans and Jordan Crawford, who the team received from the Hawks in exchange for in Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong.
Washington has not won since the All-Star break. The Wizards last win came back on Feb. 13, when they nabbed their first road win of the season in Cleveland. A win against a top team from the west would be a nice way to get back on track as the Wizards try finish the season on a positive note -- if not in the win column, at least in terms of developing the young talent and creating some sense of optimism going forward.