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Mavericks final score: Dallas fights off Wizards, 107-101

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The Mavericks gave up a big fourth quarter but held on to beat the winless Wizards at home. Dallas moves to 5-4 on the season.

Ronald Martinez

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Washington Wizards 107-101. OJ Mayo led the Mavericks with 25 points on 9-15 shooting, while Jordan Crawford and Cartier Martin kept the game close for the Wizards, going 7-10 from three and contributing a combined 36 points.

As seemingly always for Mavericks fans, some early season blowouts aside, this game got interesting. It shouldn't have gotten interesting. It was against a terrible, winless team, and through three it was not interesting. The Mavericks 63-45 halftime lead remained entirely intact through the 3rd quarter.

But, as usual, the Mavericks offense and defense both sputtered to a halt in the 2nd half, scoring just 44 points and allowing 56. So it was, as usual, a tale of two halves.

There were certainly some bright spots for the Mavericks. First of all, this was the first game that Carlisle played Kaman and Brand extensively together and it paid immediate dividends. In general, the big man rotation of Kaman, Brand and James was exceptional tonight, grabbing a lot of boards and playing some good defense. Indeed, if you take the three-ball out of this game (a silly intellectual exercise, but bear with me), the Mavericks win 98-62.

It's not yet clear what Brandan Wright, who has been instant, efficient offense, has done to be banished entirely from the game, but it's not a bad guess that it's the Mavericks' rebounding troubles. Brand was especially good tonight, putting up his first double-double as a Maverick (11-12, 8 o-boards), and Kaman was more than Wright's equal offensively (25 points on 9-15) shooting.

Also, for 2.5 quarters, the Mavericks did what they did without making a single three-pointer, which is doubly impressive given how much they've relied on it this season. Clearly Carlisle coached this, clearly they listened. If 107 points isn't the most the Mavericks have scored with just three 3-pointers in a few years, I will eat this delicious ice cream Sunday.

Ultimately, all the good news was subsumed in a furious Wizards comeback, involving 4 three-pointers from Cartier Martin, a lot of inside shots from Kevin Seraphin, and at least twice in the fourth it came down to a one-possession game. This is something the Mavericks have done poorly for years. Other good teams handle teams that have nothing to lose, the Mavericks do not. Old news, still annoying.

But, it never sunk below three points, and maybe the Mavericks learned a little bit about winning as a team. Other than that, 5-4 is a lot better than 4-5 and here we are.

P.S., you guys in suits, come back any time you like.

Final - 11.14.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Washington Wizards 19 26 22 34 101
Dallas Mavericks 23 40 22 22 107

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