Wizards endure tough shooting night
This is one of the most unattractive games of the entire NBA season, not coincidentally coming off of New Year's Eve, the Wizards gave it way in front of 15,713 at Verizon Center on Wednesday. The Dallas Mavericks win the season series 2-0.
It could've been the Wizards' sixth win in the last seven games; the first time they began the new year without a losing record since 2008; and their first win vs. a Southwest Division opponent since 2009.
Instead, the Mavericks (19-13) won their third consecutive game despite Dirk Nowitzki shooting just 3-for-14 for nine points and Jose Calderon 3-for-14 for 11 points. Monta Ellis led all scorers with 23 points on 7-for-18 shooting.
John Wall's free throws with less than a minute left gave him his eight consecutive game with 20 points or more. He finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, five assists but seven turnovers as the Wizards (14-15) dropped below .500 yet again. Wall has never had a winning record since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2010.
Turning point: After going up 74-70 on a shot by Marcin Gortat at 4:59 of the fourth quarter, the Wizards went 0-for-7 and failed to make another field goal until Wall's layup with 19 seconds left and the Mavericks firmly in control.
Best in show: Trevor Booker. He eclipsed his season (14) and career highs (16) in rebounds before getting a breather at 4:10 of the third quarter. Booker finished with a game-high 19 rebounds and 10 points on 5-for-9 shooting.
Key stat lines: Both teams combined to shoot 63-for-166 for a miserable 37.9%, including 11 of 48 from three-point range for 22.9%. ... The Wizards' bench contributed just 16 points on 7 of 23 shooting, 30.4%. ... Dallas was plus-14 in made free throws, going 21 of 23 from the foul line.
DNP: Eric Maynor, Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton didn't get off the bench.
Around the bend: The Wizards have home games Friday vs. the Toronto Raptors (CSN, 7) and Sunday vs. the Golden State Warriors (CSN, 6) before a three-game road trip.
From the locker room: "We just couldn't make a shoot all day, really. We were doing a great job defensively. It was just we weren't making shots down the stretch. ... I give credit to them for executing and making their shots. ... We needed one or two of those to go down in that fourth quarter." -- Wall
"It was one of those nights where we couldn't make many shots so they were coming off and I'm an offensive rebounder. I try to get every one and they rolled my way." -- Booker
"Whenever you can hold a great scorer like that down to a minimum, you always love your chances. And although we did that, they had a few other guys who were able to step up and knock down some shots. Monta had a big night. And Vince (Carter) came in and made a lot of threes as well. ... It we would have won we probably still would've been a little draggy because of the way we played on offense. We still have two more in a row at home." -- Wizards G Bradley Beal
"Try to run them off (the three-point line). We knew it was going to be a challenge keeping them off the glass and getting extra possessions. Even when they did get extra possessions we did a great job closing out the shooters and making them tough. We tried out best to keep John (Wall) out of the paint because when he starts getting in the paint, he tends to create those open looks for guys later in the game." -- Carter