Highlights: Wizards 106, Pistons 99
If Wednesday's game with the Dallas Mavericks comes down to the wire, John Wall, should stay clear of Shawn Marion, who just accomplished something unprecedented. Nevermind that his nickname, Trix, is a nickname for his original nickname, Matrix. It's that he scored 32 points in a game in his fifth season with the team, the first time he has had 30 or more.
"That's an extension of what I used to do," said Marion after the game, a four-time All-Star in his first eight seasons with the Phoenix Suns.
But Marion also got away with what most would consider a foul as he hacked the arm of Kevin Love as he attempted a three-pointer that could've won Monday's game when the Mavericks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-98.
Wall has complained that his miscues on the final play of two games in which he failed to make the game-winning shot were caused by fouls in which his arm was either hacked (Jeremy Lamb, Oklahoma City Thunder) and outright grabbed on the catch (Nate Robinson, Denver Nuggets).
He's correct and I addressed that topic here. Love is the bigger name player in this exchange with Marion, and even though two officials appeared to have a clear sight line of the play a whistle wasn't blown. Like Wall has found out the hard way, they're erring on the side of caution to allow players to decide the outcome.
The Mavericks (18-13) still have key pieces for the 2011 championship team such as Marion who know how to win and bend the rules to their favor. They have quality road wins vs. teams such as the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets and they're almost .500 away from home at 7-9.
They beat the Wizards (14-14) last month, 105-95, at America Airlines Center. This isn't a strong defensive team, but it is 12-2 when holding opponents to less than 100 points.
If it comes down to the wire, the Wizards should take a page out of Marion's book and defend Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs' 7-foot jump shooting power forward or speedy point guard Monta Ellis, in the same way. Chances are, the officials will reward defensive aggression. Just not the Jan Vesely six-fouls-in-eight-minutes aggression.