Wizards edge Mavericks to move into ninth place in the East, 119-118
If the Washington Wizards (18-32) were looking to validate their moves at this week’s trade deadline in their matchup with the Dallas Mavericks (31-21) tonight at Capital One Arena, this was a suitable test. Fresh off acquiring guards Shabazz Napier, who finished with 14 points in 18 minutes in his first game as a Wizard, and Jerome Robinson, the Wizards looked to become younger and more defense-oriented. While this game turned out to be a squeaker, it ended up a strong start to what is hopefully a new era as the team looks to the All-Star break and the second half of the season.
The game featured nine lead changes, with Dallas opening up a 25-18 lead nine minutes in but the Wizards going up by two about halfway through the second quarter, and Dallas leading by a basket at halftime. Seven minutes into the second half, a Willie Cauley-Stein dunk put Dallas up 82-74, but the Wizards fought back and took a 101-97 lead on a three-pointer by Davis Bertans with two minutes gone in the fourth quarter.
The lead changed yet again, with the Mavs going up five on a Kristaps Porzingis free throw with 3:49 left, and that’s where, as the Bard said, the fun started. A Bertans three-pointer made it 114-112, but after a series of missed shots. Dorian Finney-Smith rained a three pointer that put Dallas up by five. An Ish Smith three-pointer cut the lead to two, then Maxi Kieber fouled Davis Bertans who made both shots to tie it at 117. Tim Hardaway, fouled by Isaac Bonga, made one shot to put Dallas up by one, but at the last second, Bradley Beal, who broke his streak of games scoring at least 30 points, finished with 29 on a layup to end the contest at 119-118.
When the dust cleared, the Wizards stood at ninth place in the Eastern Conference, looking to their next matchup Sunday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.