For the second straight night, the Washington Wizards hung tough with a superior team but simply could not get defensive stops and cut into a lead to threaten in the fourth quarter. When it was all said and done, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Wizards 107-98 - Washington's third straight loss to a Western Conference team.
Trevor Booker continued his impressive season, leading the Wiz with a double-double effort. He finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds and was one of six players to finish in double figures. John Wall matched Booker with a double-double of his own, dishing 10 assists and adding 18 points.
But it was the defensive end that was the problem again on Tuesday. Dallas shot better than 50 percent from the floor with Dirk Nowitzki scoring a game-high 27 points on 10 of 14 from the floor. Dirk was on fire in the first half, scoring 20 in the first alone and pacing Dallas to a nine-point lead that they would not relinquish. The Wizards cut it to two in the third quarter, but Dallas quickly responded and would enjoy a comfortable lead for the entire fourth quarter.
Washington will now continue their five-game road trip on Thursday against the New Orleans Hornets
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Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Washington Wizards have put together a game effort so far in Dallas against the defending champion Mavericks. Washington led by as many as four, but the Mavs closed out the half on a run to build their lead to ten - their largest lead through the first 24 minutes. The Mavs lead 60-51 heading into the locker room at American Airlines Center.
As was the case last night in San Antonio, it's the defensive end giving the Wizards trouble in Texas. The Spurs had 20 plus assists in the first half last night, and the Mavericks have executed with that same ball movement tonight, dishing 16 assists while shooting 62 percent from the floor. Reigning Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki went off in the first half, hitting eight of nine shots and scoring a game-high 20 points.
Washington is once again holding its own on the offensive end, shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and committing only five turnovers. Nick Young leads the Wizards with nine points, while John Wall has eight points and five assists. But again, they will have to get stops on the defensive end if they want to pull even and have a chance at upsetting the Mavs.
For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Wizards, check out Bullets Forever, SB Nation's Wiz blog. For all your NBA news and notes as the trade deadline approaches, visit SB Nation's NBA news hub.