Mavericks Vs. Wizards: John Wall Shines, But Washington Falls Late, 105-99

The Wizards lost a tough one Saturday night, falling to Dallas despite an impressive night from John Wall. Washington has now lost five games in a row, and won zero times since the All-Star break.

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Mavericks Vs. Wizards: John Wall Dazzles Late, But Washington Loses To Dallas 105-99

UPDATE: Here are a few relevant thoughts and quotes from Mavericks vs. Wizards on Saturday night.

  • Rick Carlisle on John Wall: "Well, Wall puts tremendous pressure on your entire defense. A lot of times when you run back the guy that's guarding him isn't in the vicinity, someone else has to take him. You know, (Shawn) Marion had him on that last play, Jet (Jason Terry) had him, (J.J.) Barea had him, (Roddy) Beaubois had him. (Jason) Kidd had him a few times. It's tough, you got to have a couple guys right next to you otherwise he's going to find a seam and he's going to make something happen."
  • Ex-Wizard Brendan Haywood on young Wizards: "I follow their stats so I always kind of know what Nick (Young) and Andray (Blatche) and guys like that. We've always known Nick had the potential, the talent. Now that he's got the opportunity he's ran with it.
  • Jordan Crawford -- the 27th pick in the NBA draft acquired by the Wizards at the deadline -- played 16 minutes, but a lot of his time came with the game on the line. Crawford forced the issue at times, and could stand to settle into the flow of the offense, but he played generally well and finished with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting and had two steals.
  • John Wall didn't have the greatest shooting night (11 for 26 from the field) but he refused to let the Wizards fade in this game, and his play has been impressive since calling out the effort of his teammates. Wall even displayed a shimmy, which he must have stolen from Greivis Vasquez and earned an on-court, dead-ball, low five from coach Flip Saunders after he blocked a shot with less than two minutes to play.

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This is a tough loss to swallow, even to a much better Mavericks team and even for a team for which losses are nothing new. The Wizards fell 105-99 in a game that John Wall took over late, but in which Washington just couldn't finish pull off a comeback against a veteran Dallas team.

Dirk Nowitzski finished with 21 points, none bigger than the two-of-three free throws he earned late with a bit of an acting job to give Dallas a cushion against a fast-charging Wizards team. Nowitzki grinned after getting the call against a shocked Rashard Lewis. Tyson Chandler also killed the Wizards with 23 points and 13 rebounds.

John Wall took over in the fourth quarter. He had one stretch with less than three minutes to play with consecutive bucket-and-the-fouls and a block on the defensive end that elicited a roar from the point guard and a low five from coach Flip Saunders. The youth movement continued as Jordan Crawford also played big crunch-time minutes for the Wizards after seeing limited action in his first game with Washington.

I'm running down to postgame availability, but more to come later.

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Mavericks Vs. Wizards: Mavericks Turn Close Game Into 59-49 Lead At The Half

Tyson Chandler has been a problem for the Wizards in the first half Saturday night. He punctuated a 12-point, 8-rebound effort with a fast-break dunk and then a powerful slam with McGee on him to end the half. John Wall banked in a three-point shot from WAY out at the buzzer, but the Wizards trail by a score of 59-49 at the half.

No surprise, Dirk Nowitzki has given the Wizards trouble as well. Rashard Lewis has worked hard to deny Nowitzki the ball, but despite he's taken almost as many free throws and field goals, which helps. As a team, the Mavericks have gotten to the line at a higher rate than Washington, shooting 10 more free throws. That's where the difference has been as each team has made 22 field goals.

A lot of those free throws have come by ball movement and crisp passing inside rather than just isolated drives to the basket. The Mavericks have shared the basketball, resulting 18 assists compared to 11 for the Wizards. Of course, it helps to have Jason Kidd, who matched Washington with 11 assists on his own.

For the Wizards, Nick Young and John Wall have led the offense with 10 and eight points respectively. But they've shot a combined two free throws. Trevor Booker has eight points off the bench and has taken it right at Brendan Haywood inside.

The early minutes of the third quarter will set the tempo for the Wizards. Can the Wizards get back into this game or will this devolve into another instance of the team conceding well before the game is done?

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Mavericks Vs. Wizards: Washington Still Winless After All-Star Break

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.

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