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3 takeaways from the Mavericks’ 120-114 loss against the Wizards

Dallas drops one at home after an extra day off back from Thanksgiving

NBA: Washington Wizards at Dallas Mavericks Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks fell at home to the Washington Wizards 120-114. Bradly Beal led Washington with 26 points, five rebounds, and seven assists. Luka Doncic was the high point man for Dallas with 33 in defeat. The Mavericks fall to 10-8.

In the Mavericks first home game since November 15th, the Mavs started out struggling on the defensive end, giving up 41 in the first quarter. Luka got hot early knocking down six quick buckets to get him going early. Porzingis showed some patience in the post backing down Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and baiting him into an easy foul which translated to two easy points at the line. Maxi Kleber came ready for the action putting up 6 early points that included a nice drive to the cup that resulted in a contact finish along with a sweet lob from Luka. The quarter ended on a tough note with a ferocious Kyle Kuzma slam, pushing the Wizards to 68 percent from the field. Doncic finished the first with 15 points on 6-9 shooting.

The lack of defense continued into the second quarter, but fortunately for the Mavericks, their offense pushed them ahead. Trey Burke came to play, putting up 9 big points in the second. With Doncic sitting the first 6 minutes of the quarter after playing almost all of the first, Porzingis continued to be a big threat on the offensive end, assisting on a Burke three and scoring another bucket in the post. Washington’s success from the field started to take a step back as they finished the half shooting 57 percent from the field. Dallas was able to close out the half on a wild Porzingis fadeaway as the clock expired, finishing the first half up 69-61.

To start the third, Dallas stayed busy on the offensive end, getting to the line and forcing Bradley Beal to pick up a few bad fouls, giving him his third early in the quarter. Things picked up a bit on the defensive end as the Mavericks forced two near back-to-back turnovers to put them at ten for the game. Tim Hardaway Jr. attacks the rim getting fouled on an attempted dunk, missing both free throws and Dallas’ momentum seems to evaporate. The Wizards go on a quick run to put them up 77-76. Raul Neto gets hot sinking consecutive three-pointers as Washington continues to heat up from the outside. Luka scores six straight points followed by a three-pointer from Bullock to put Dallas up by two. Both teams end the quarter on a sour note as each team goes scoreless in the final minute of the quarter. Dallas leads 93-91 as they head to the fourth.

Dallas started the fourth with a nice Porzingis assist on another Burke three. The offensive success slowed as Washington proceeded to go on a 10-6 run, putting them up 101-99 with eight minutes to go. Coach Kidd calls a timeout to get them back on track and opts to bring Doncic back in. Sterling Brown knocks down another three at the 7-minute mark, getting the crowd on its feet. Luka misses a contact layup and immediately commits a frustration foul with the game tied at 102. Hardaway Jr. continues to shoot and knocks down a big three at the 5-minute mark, causing the AAC to erupt and Washington to call a timeout. Doncic scores back-to-back buckets before assisting on a Hardaway Jr. three-point shot to bring the Mavericks within two. Washington sinks another bucket to put them up four and proves to be too much for Dallas. Doncic misses a step-back three over Gafford, resulting in a foul that puts the Wizards up six. Wizards win 120-114.

Now, some thoughts:

For the most part, the Mavericks are tough to beat at home

After having an extra day off after Thanksgiving, the Mavericks dropped on to the Wizards. Prior to that game, the Mavs were 6-1 at home. They are now back home for five out of the next six games (vs Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, one against the New Orleans Pelicans, one against the Memphis Grizzlies and the Brooklyn Nets.) We saw how big of a factor home-court advantage was last season, so it’s imperative that Dallas continues to be this successful on their home floor.

Kristaps Porzingis must stay aggressive

Willie Cauley-Stein got the start once again, allowing for Porzingis to start at the four. He started off strong, scoring in the close and mid-range. This opened things up for Hardaway Jr. and Finney-Smith who combined for 4-9 from the three-point line. Porzingis struggled in the second half offensively and the defense failed to pick up, which made things tough in the fourth for the Mavericks. KP shot the ball 12 times tonight. Dallas is going to need more from him as the second option if they’re going to get where they want to go in the postseason. Kristaps Porzingis finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block.

The bench came up big, but it wasn’t quite enough

Dallas’ bench outscored Washington’s 56-35 without the help of Jalen Brunson. Kleber and Burke were huge for Dallas, contributing a combined 27 points. The bench shot 41 percent from the three-point line and 100 percent from the free-throw line. The Mavericks struggled to close out the game losing to the Wizards by six, but as far as the bench goes, you can’t ask for much more.

Here’s our latest episode of Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you’re unable to see the embed below, click here to be taken to the podcast directly. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search Mavs Moneyball Podcast.