Another matchup versus a team above .500 results in another Wizards loss. This team has yet to prove itself against good competition this year, outside of the Milwaukee Bucks, despite playing the Mavericks very closely and even having late leads.
The Wizards' terrible shot selection and turnovers gave the Mavericks just the boost they needed to take the Wizards out late in the game, even after making mistakes of their own.
Here are three things we've learned from the game.
The Wizards need to be good consistently
We are not in the business of moral victories anymore. This is a game this team could have won and should have won, but they gave it away down the stretch and continued to let the Mavericks pull off in spurts on them throughout the game.
The Wizards jumped out on the Mavericks early on in the first quarter and had stretches of brilliance on both ends. There were multiple occasions where the Wizards could have pulled away from the Mavericks but they got away from their defensive gameplan and let them right back in the lead.
The Mavericks started the second half with a made three pointer from Monta Ellis, a Tyson Chandler and-1 and a Dirk Nowitzki three. Those nine straight points pushed the lead to ten. Five of their 14 turnovers came in the third quarter and the Wizards did not give themselves an opportunity to pull away in a close game.
Good teams do not make those type of bad plays against other good teams. Against Indiana, New York and Detroit? You can make up for it. Against the best offensive team in the league? You're dead in the water.
Dejaun Blair needs to be playing over Kevin Seraphin
I'm not sure, but I think Brandan Wright may have ended #KSlife tonight.
Seraphin just did not have himself a good night tonight. Aside from his occasional jump-hooks and spotty outside shooting, it is really hard to find a reason for Randy Wittman to continue playing him.
After giving up the and-1 to Wright on that play, Seraphin had a hideous turnover where he picked up his dribble in the paint with two defenders surrounding him. That is unacceptable on this level.
Instead of the Wizards making a stop on that play and being down two with a chance to tie or go up, they go down five after Wright's points and then Seraphin turns it over leading to another Mavs score. Talk about a huge swing.
John Wall has to be more consistent
Wall embodied the Wizards efforts tonight on both ends. He gave up a boneheaded foul at the end of the half that gave the Mavs a one point lead going into halftime instead of keeping the Wizards on top. He had 11 assists tonight with only three turnovers, but shot 5-17 from the field and only scored 11 points.
He played solid defense for the most part and generally made good decisions throughout the game, but there were so many moments he whiffed on and so many plays he could have made.
He passed up on driving lanes on multiple occasions and he pulled up for a bad three with a bulk of the shot clock left to work with and 26 seconds left in the game.
Wall did good things on a night where his shot did not fall for him. He ran the offense, got others involved, played solid defense and even rebounded a bit more than usual. But there were plays he had to have that he just did not make and ultimately lost a winnable game.
The Side Notes
The Panda is back on the floor and it's great to see. Bradley Beal checked in about halfway through the first quarter and was greeted by an ovation from the audience.
Beal did not disappoint in his season debut and scored 21 points on 17 shots. He had a bad offensive foul late in the game that factored into the outcome, but other than that his play was pretty even on all levels. With Garrett Temple's play slipping, Beal could not have come back at a better time.
Paul Pierce had a nice bounce back game and shot 6-10 from the field. He drained some threes and helped keep the Wizards alive on a night where Wall couldn't buy a bucket.
Washington all of a sudden has depth at the wing with Porter and Butler playing well. If Pierce continues this play and Beal performs at a high level, this team is going to be dangerous on the wings when everything is clicking.