The Dallas Mavericks (1-10) will be in the nation’s capital Tuesday night to take on the Washington Wizards (5-4). The schedule early on this season has been absolutely brutal for Dallas, and from the looks of it, there seems to be no break in sight. The Mavs can’t afford to sit back and feel sorry for themselves right now, though, if they want to have a real chance at saving this season. They’ll need all hands on deck tonight if they hope to fly back to Dallas with a quality road win.
Here are three things to watch for tonight.
Mavs should be able to put up points
So far this season, the Mavs have averaged 97.9 points per game, which ranks 28th in the NBA. However, the Wizards haven't been that great defensively at home this year, allowing at least 111 points in each of their four home games.
Mavs have won last eight at Washington overall. Wizards have allowed road teams to score 111+ in all four home games this season.— Bobby Karalla (@bobbykaralla) November 6, 2017
If the Mavs can get some shots to fall, while also avoiding devastatingly bad turnovers, they should be able to put up a lot of points on the Wizards, giving them a chance to win the game. But as we’ve so painfully learned thus far this season, things don’t usually go the way they should. It’ll still be something to watch for, regardless.
Dennis Smith Jr. vs. John Wall — well, maybe
Well before Smith Jr. was selected ninth in the NBA Draft, some scouts were comparing him to John Wall because of his elite speed and athleticism. Another comparison between the two players is the fact that shooting isn’t really their best attribute. That being said, Wall is a superstar in the league, and we hope Smith Jr. will be able to reach that status one day.
What was supposed to be another great test for the young rookie may not come to pass, as Wall is dealing with a nagging shoulder injury. Although they believe the injury is not serious, Wizards’ head coach, Scott Brooks may opt to not risk any further damage to Wall’s shoulder by resting him against the worst team in the league. But hopefully all is well and we get to see Smith Jr. and Wall square off.
So far this season, Smith Jr. is averaging 17.2 points, 5.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds per 36 minutes, while Wall is averaging 20.7 points, 10.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds. Both players are shooting right at 40-percent from the field this season as well.
Winning streak at Washington on the line
The Mavs have won their last eight games against the Wizards, with a few of the most recent ones being thrillers. I’m not sure what it is about playing in D.C., but it just seems to bring out the best of the Mavs’ competitive fire. And man, do they need some of that right now.
It’s not going to be easy, and just because they have a current winning streak against the Wizards doesn't wipe out the fact that the Mavs have been tripping over their own feet all season. As is the case with the majority of these games going forward, everything needs to go right for Dallas to come out with a win. Maybe Wesley Matthews can nail 10 three pointers again? That would help.
How to watch
The Mavs and Wizards tip off early Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. Central. The game can be watched locally on FSSW or on NBA League Pass outside of the Dallas area.