- The Washington Times - Monday, November 15, 2004

Washington Wizards fans finally got a chance to see a healthy Jerry Stackhouse. Unfortunately for the 15,420 at MCI Center, Stackhouse was in fine form for the Dallas Mavericks.

Stackhouse, who comes off the bench these days, scored 28 points to go along with teammate Dirk Nowitzki’s game-high 32 to lead the Mavericks to a 122-113 victory over the Wizards yesterday.

“[Stackhouse] definitely looks like he’s healthy,” said Wizards center Brendan Haywood, who scored 20 points and made eight of nine shots. “He’s definitely feeding off of Nowitzki. You look at the fact now he doesn’t have to create so much for himself. Now he can have stuff created for him. Right now in his career, that’s probably the best role for him.”

With the game tied 89-89 after three quarters, the Mavericks found their shooting touch. Stackhouse made four of five shots, including 3-for-3 from behind the 3-point arc, and Dallas was 11 of 17 from the field in the final period to put the game out of reach against the Wizards (3-4).

“We’re small and we’re light in the pants,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said of his team’s defense after the Mavericks made 43 of 82 shots for the game. Dallas was 12-for-19 from behind the 3-point line. Washington, which made 42 of 89 field goals, was 6-for-17 from long distance.

“The 3-point shot is big when you go down a couple of times and don’t score and they get a couple in a row,” Wizards guard Larry Hughes said.

Stackhouse, who missed 54 games last season with the Wizards (knee surgery) and was part of a trade with Dallas for Antawn Jamison, scored 11 points in the fourth. His 3-pointer with 1:36 remaining put the Mavericks (7-1) up 116-104 to seal their third straight win.

“It felt good to come back here and win,” said Stackhouse, who heard a smattering of cheers mixed with large doses of boos every time he touched the ball. “Not so much beating those guys, just to win the game was good.”

Wasted in the loss was Haywood’s performance, which included nine rebounds, four blocked shots and a career-high four steals. For the first time since Feb.11, when the Wizards defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, four Washington players scored at least 20 points. Jamison finished with 23 points and nine rebounds; Hughes netted 23 points and a season-high eight assists; and Gilbert Arenas came up one assist shy of a double-double, finishing with 20 points and nine assists.

The Wizards also can take solace they are the first team this season to score 100 points or more against the Mavericks.

But this would sugarcoat a situation the Wizards must address: they are a bad defensive team.

In their four losses this season teams are averaging 112 points and shooting better than 52 percent from the floor.

“We can score with the best of them but it really doesn’t matter what you do offensively when you can’t stop them on the defensive end,” Jamison said.

Washington certainly was unable to stop Nowitzki, particularly in the final quarter.

“I think the fourth quarter is Dirk Nowitzki’s quarter,” Haywood said. “If he wasn’t scoring he was making a play. That’s why he’s an All-Star. It’s tough to guard someone who is 7 feet and can shoot as well as he does. Toward the end he was just beating us with fadeaways, and you kind of almost want that at the end of the game.”

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