Washington Takes Down Dallas Despite a 41-Point Night by Doncic
The Washington Wizards were in Dallas last night with their hands full trying to contain Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. The Wizards didn’t slow Luka down, but a 30-point night from Kuzma pushed Washington through the Mavs in a tight 127-126 game.
Kuzma would lead the Wizards in scoring, but couldn’t find anything from deep, shooting 2-10 from such range. The former Laker also didn’t bring in his usual 7 rebounds, instead only hauling in 5, or dish out his usual 4 assists, keeping it to a low 2. He did, however, handle the ball with more care, turning it over just three times.
Bradley Beal wasn’t far behind in scoring, netting 22 points on 7-17 shooting, as well as handing out 4 assists. Beal came close to fouling out with 5 fouls on the night, 4 of which came in the second half.
The absence of Porzingis meant Gafford was the lone big in the starting five against the Mavericks. It also meant the paint was more open than it would’ve been if Porzingis did suit up, allowing the Mavs to score 64 of their 126 points in the painted area. The 6’10’’ center brought in 7 boards and was the only starter to not reach double-digits in scoring, recording only 9 points. Gafford also struggled to contain Mavs center Dwight Powell as he was one rebound away from a double-double with 22 points and 9 rebounds.
Coach Unseld Jr. went deep into his bench, choosing to not play only 2 players. One of those players was Kendrick Nunn, who was acquired in the Rui Hachimura trade with the Lakers.
Despite this, the Wizards also saw 2 players, Deni Avdija and Delon Wright, eclipse double-digit points. Avdija saw an increased 32 minutes off the bench, for which he scored 15 points, most of which came from the charity stripe, and brought in a team-high 10 rebounds while shooting 3-5 from the field. For Wright, he scored 10 points on 4-7 shooting, distributed 6 assists, and amassed 3 steals, one of which was the game-sealing steal.
Head coach for the Mavericks, Jason Kidd, decided to do the complete opposite and only play 3 players off the bench. This meant all five starters for the Mavericks would play over 30 minutes. Doncic took advantage of playing nearly 40 minutes against Washington, scoring 41 points, bringing in 15 rebounds, and dealing 6 assists. Luka went hitless from beyond the arc but shot over 50% on the night.
There was very little that separated these teams and it was only a Delon Wright steal that allowed the Wizards to walk out of Dallas with a win.
Washington moves to 21-26 but will stay in Texas to face the Houston Rockets tonight at 8 pm EST.