Mavericks Final Score: Mavs Outlast Wizards, 87-78

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

An ugly win to start the year, but a victory nonetheless.

The Dallas Mavericks shook off a sloppy shooting performance against the Washington Wizards to walk away with a 87-78 victory. Monta Ellis was the leading scorer for Dallas with 23 points and 5 rebounds. John Wall led the Wizards with 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Trevor Booker grabbed a ridiculous 19 rebounds for the vanquished Wizards.

The Mavericks got off to a slow first quarter start, letting Washington get out to an 11-3 lead after shooting 1-for-6 and turning it over twice to start the game. Mavs fans everywhere collectively held their breath as Dirk Nowitizki went down with what looked like a left ankle injury on the second play of the game. He would return later in the quarter after getting his ankle re-taped in the locker room. Dallas finally came alive after Jose Calderon hit a left wing three and Shawn Marion blocked a shot clock beating jumper attempt from Trevor Ariza.

Shawn Marion and Jose Calderon kept Dallas ahead as the period wore on, with Calderon hitting another three and Marion scoring on a put back and a transition dunk. Nene and John Wall kept the Wizards within striking distance with Nene posterizing Brandan Wright on a drop step dunk and Wall forcing the issue with repeated drives and free throw attempts. The Mavericks finished the quarter strong with a three from Vince Carter and Brandan Wright converting a lay in off of a pick and roll. Dallas took a 25-20 lead into the second quarter.

Dallas started the second frame much the same as the first, with a turnover and missed shots. Shane Larkin got Dallas on the board with a great hesitation drive and lay up finish. He and DeJuan Blair also connected on a pick and roll which saw Blair use his tear drop lay in. Dirk found Jae Crowder for a jumper off of a great cross court pass. Dirk also got his first shot to fall in the second off of an iso post up over Martell Webster. Dallas led 35-29 heading into a timeout at the 6:08 mark of the period.

Washington slowly took the lead, capitolizing off of Maverick mistakes. Bradley Beal hit a wide open corner three. John Wall went to work probing the lane, finding Trevor Booker for a tear drop. On the other end, Dallas simply could not convert. Though Shawn Marion scored on a putback and Dirk hit a couple of free throws, the Mavericks were not able to hit a shot the latter half of the quarter. Dirk missed a bunny at the rim and two straight jumpers on the baseline to send Dallas into the half trailing 39-42.

Shockingly, the third started much as the previous two had, with Dallas unable to hit a shot on offense. It clearly effected their defense as the Wizards grabbed multiple offensive rebounds. Monta Ellis tried to will Dallas awake with drives to the basket. A Trevor Ariza three put Dallas down by eight. A Calderon three and a Dirk show and go jumper off the glass brought Dallas back in the game, cutting the Washington lead down to three. Trevor Booker was having none of it, converting a put back, and a pick and pop jumper.

Rick Carlisle picked up a technical for something and it seemed to wake Dallas up just a bit. Monta started with converting a lay in, followed by Shawn Marion putting back one of his own missed runners. Ellis then found Carter in the corner off of a fantastic drive and dish. The Wizards weren't ready to lie down, responding with two threes of their own to take a 61-59 lead into the final frame.

The fourth was a wild back and forth affair, filled with missed jumpers, turnovers, and more missed jumpers.  Dirk and Brandan Wright got Dallas going mid way through the corner with a dunk from Wright followed by a baseline jumper. Dirk converted on just his third make of the night to give Dallas a one point lead. Jae Crowder then followed up with a pair of free throws to give the Maveriicks their largest lead of the half. The Wizards responded right back with a lay up from Martin Gortat and a three from Bradley Beal.

John Wall took and hit a jumper to give Washington a four point lead. Vince Carter responded with a two point make of his own. Martin Gortat hit a great midrange shot over Wright to push the lead to 74-70. Vince Carter responded again with a great three. Washington failed to convert on it's next possession, which led to a Brandan Wright hook to give Dallas a 75-74 lead. Each team traded misses before Vince Carter goaded Ariza into a cheap foul before a scheduled timeout.

Carter hit both free throws to give Dallas a 77-74 lead with under three minutes to play.  Washinton failed to score again and Dallas put Monta Ellis in an isolation situation on the left wing. He scored to give Dallas a five point lead. The Wizards missed a three the next possession so the Mavericks milked the clock before turning it over. Ariza missed at the rim as he thought he was fouled in a lay up. Dirk missed what would've been a game sealing three and John Wall got fouled on the ensuing fast break. Wall converted both. Monta Ellis missed a jumper with 25 seconds remaining, but DeJuan Blair got the offensive rebound and was fouled where he made both free throws.

Bradley Beal scored on the next possession for Washington, but with so little time, it was a matter of Dallas making free throws. They did. The Mavericks escaped an ugly game with an important road win.

*More notes to follow after I've been through the post game stuff.




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