Monta Ellis scored 23 points, Vince Carter had 13 and the Dallas Mavericks held the Washington Wizards scoreless for more than 4 minutes late in the fourth quarter of an 87-78 victory Wednesday night.
The Wizards led 74-70 with 4:58 to play, but the Mavericks scored nine straight points on a 3-pointer by Carter, a hook shoot by Brandan Wright, two free throws by Carter and a jumper by Ellis to give Dallas a 79-74 lead with 2:14 to play.
Washington didn’t score again until John Wall, who led the Wizards with 22 points, made two free throws with 46 seconds to play.
Trevor Booker had 10 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for Washington.
It was Dallas’ fourth straight win on the road and their eighth straight over the Wizards (14-15), who failed in their attempt to rise above .500 for the first time since Oct. 31, 2009.
Dirk Nowitzki, averaging 21.3 points, had a season-low nine, shooting 3 for 14. In the game’s first minute, Nowitzki left to have his left ankle re-taped.
Wizards coach Randy Wittman said he didn’t want his team consumed by the quest for an over .500 record.
“I don’t want the focus to be on that,” Wittman said. “Let’s continue to do the things we’re doing, then the record takes care of itself.”
In its last game, Dallas escaped with a win at Minnesota on Monday. On Tuesday, the NBA released a statement saying that the Timberwolves’ Kevin Love should have been awarded two free throws late in a two-point Mavericks’ win. Shawn Marion should have been assessed a foul, the NBA said.
The Mavericks finished the first quarter Wednesday on a 15-5 run to take a 25-20 lead.
Washington went on a 9-0 run to take a 36-35 lead with 3:48 to play in the first half. The Wizards led 42-39 at halftime.
The Wizards led through nearly the entire third quarter, surrendering the lead briefly on a 9-0 Dallas run, but led 61-59 after three.
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