In the midst of a six-game losing streak, the Dallas Mavericks came to Verizon Center last night to face the Washington Wizards in the teams' second and final meeting this season. The Mavericks won the first game on Nov. 14 in Dallas and were clearly hoping the Wizards would be just the get-well potion they needed.
Washington's second-half fade gave Dallas that elusive victory, by a 103-94 count. A dismal third quarter paved the way for the Wizards' demise, getting outscored 35-19.
"It was a different game in the second half," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We gave them some confidence. When they got going, we couldn't get stops."
The Mavericks 35 third-quarter points were the most the Wizards have given up in any third quarter all season. The most points they've given up in any quarter is 40 — in the second quarter in Dallas.
"We just played against a bunch of veteran guys, some of whom have even won a championship," Wittman said. "They were a wounded bunch coming into the game, but they didn't let that stop them from battling."
Rookie Bradley Beal, whose bobblehead was the New Year's Day giveaway item for fans, tied his career high with 22 points and ended his dismal 0-for-17 streak from three-point range by connecting on four of seven shots from beyond the arc.
"We had them down in the beginning of the game and they made a run, but we didn't retaliate and make a run of our own," Beal said. "We let them back in the game too easily and they came back and put us away. We came out with maybe the best start we've ever had, and didn't put our foot on their throats."
It was an unusually rough outing for Nene, who went just 2-for-10 from the floor for seven points and 3 of 3 from the line. Nene, who spent nine and a half seasons with the Denver Nuggets, said the Mavericks are a team that's pretty familiar with his game.
"Dallas, they know me very well," Nene said. "I played against Dallas for nine years and a half. They have all kind of different videos, so they do a great job on me. That's the reason Mek [Emeka Okafor] stepped up. I hope they take it easy on me a little bit — that's my wish for 2013."
Okafor finished with 14 points on 5 of 10 from the floor and 11 rebounds.
"They have experience," Nene said. "They have good players right there. We wake up the beast. Nowitski started making shots, Vince Carter looked like the young Vince Carter making dunks...they did a great job."
Mavericks center Dirk Nowitski, who missed the team's first 27 games after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, scored 11 points, while Carter led all scorers with 23.
It's one of the rare times when Nene, who's not a fan of having to play in back to back games because of his nagging foot injury, said he's happy that the Wizards will play on Wednesday night in Indiana against the Pacers.
"On this case, back to back is really good because we're angry," Nene said. "We lost tonight and we're going to have a game tomorrow. I hope we can have a different result tomorrow."
If the players are angry at yet another loss, there are some fans who are feeling the same level of frustration.
With just over three minutes left to play, a lone "Let's go Mavericks" chant could be heard over an especially quiet crowd as fans began to file out of the building.
In a final show of one fan's frustration, an object was thrown from the upper deck and landed with a loud crash in the corner of the arena near the player's tunnel in the game's final minute. A member of the security staff picked up the pieces of the object. It was a smashed Beal bobblehead.
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