In the first game of the New Year, the Dallas Mavericks (13-19) outlasted the Washington Wizards (4-25). Vince Carter had a turn-back-the-clock type performance, putting up 25 points on an efficient 14 shots. He also chipped in four rebounds. Rookie Bradley Beal led the way for the Wizards with 22 points, four rebounds, and a pair of assists.
Dallas began the game with a thunderous dunk from Vince Carter off a post up of Martell Webster. Unfortunately, that was one of the few things that went the Maverick's way early, as no one other than Carter was able to hit a shot. A Carter tip dunk, as well as back to back O.J. Mayo threes got Dallas back into the game after the Wizards managed to push their lead to 9 points. The Mavericks finished the quarter down 29-23. Washington pounded Dallas on the glass 20 to 8, with 9 offensive rebounds. In a refreshing change of pace, Dirk entered the game and nailed his first shot.
The Wizards started the second quarter on a 8-0 run, pushing their six point lead all the way up to 14 after a Jordan Crawford three. Dallas was simply unable to score for the first part of the quarter, with the only points coming in the form of a Chris Douglas-Roberts free throws. Finally, a Marion post move followed by a fast break and-one from Darren Collison got the Dallas offense working again. The Mavericks also got Washington into the penalty with 5:20 remaining in the half. A couple of Chris Kaman jumpers, followed by a crafty Vince Carter lay in, and a Collison jumper made the score 52-48 at the break. Dallas did not allow a single offensive rebound in the quarter and cut into the rebounding advantage a bit, 29-20.
The third quarter saw the Dallas offense break out and score 35 points. Excellent penetration led to crisp ball movement and open shots. A 6-0 Shawn Marion run resulted in Dallas finally taking the lead back from the Wizards for the first time since the first quarter. Darren Collison played with excellent purpose in the quarter, scoring 11 of his game total 15 and dishing out 3 of his 8 assists. Dirk also had three jump shots fall in the quarter and looked very smooth. Dallas finished the quarter up 83-71. They out-rebounded the Wizards 10-4 in the period, further closing the rebounding gap.
The final period was much of the same, with Carter scoring 10 points, including a monstrous jam near the very end of the game. Even Shawn Marion and Rodrigue Beaubois got in on the jump shot action, each getting long attempts to fall. Collison finally made the play we've been waiting months for, driving the lane and passing back to a trailing Dirk who nailed a three pointer.
This was a much needed win, in terms of confidence and team chemistry. A lot of the players on this team are used to winning, and it was clearly grating on these guys to deal with this type of losing streak. The win does come against a depleted Wizard squad, so keep that in mind when Dallas faces the defending champs in Miami tomorrow night.
-I was at this game as press, thanks to our wonderful editor LJ Rotter. Being an away team's press is a bit strange, since they place you where ever they have room. As a result, we didn't have the best vantage point to see the game, but since Verizon Center is actually a great place to see a sporting event, it was still pretty easy to see what all was going on. I'm not going to write an indepth thing like Andy, simply because he's a much better writer than I am. He nailed all the important stuff.
-Chris Kaman had a sneaky good defensive game. Though Dallas played poorly early, his three blocked shots helped keep an ugly start from being even worse. He's also a pretty funny dude in the locker room.
-Roddy Beaubois is a snappy post game dresser. He must miss his fashion buddy Ian Mahinmi.
-Post game Dirk talked a lot about his conditioning, mentioning that there's really no substitute for actually playing in games. He looked good tonight without question. These last few games haven't been idea in terms of helping to get his timing down because the teams Dallas has been playing have all been so good.
-Dirk is really wiry up close. I know that's sort of a stupid thing to say because we all have televisions. But it's hard to get an actual read for how these guys might look in comparison to you and me.
-I chatted with Chris Douglas Roberts a bit; he's a really nice guy. I informed him that we all read and loved his blog post last week. If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here.
-Dallas heads to Miami tomorrow, followed by New Orleans Saturday.