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Wizards vs. Mavericks preview: Washington looks for another road win in Texas

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Following a tremendous win in Houston, the Wizards look to ride their wave of momentum into Dallas for a shot at getting even with the Mavericks.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a gutsy win in Houston last night, the Wizards ride their momentum into tonight against the retooled Dallas Mavericks.

When and where? 8:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Center. You can catch the game on CSN and listen to it on 99.1FM.

Who's out? Martell Webster was slated to make his return in Houston, but could never find his way into the game. Look for him to get some spot minutes tonight with the second unit.

For Dallas, Tyson Chandler has been dealing with back spasms that kept him out Sunday vs. Oklahoma City, but showed improvement in practice according to the Dallas News. He's questionable, as is Monta Ellis, who's dealing with a sprained left ankle.

How have they been since trading for Rajon Rondo? They've played five games since the trade, and only once did they fail to eclipse the 100-point mark. They may have traded for a historically bad shooter at the point guard position, but there's an absurd amount of firepower on this team to compensate for the loss in floor spacing.

Defensively, they will get a fairly big bump with Rondo in place of Jameer Nelson. They looked great on the perimeter against OKC, stifling Russell Westbrook into a 6-23 shooting night, which helps because the back-line will run into their share of problems without much rim protection behind Chandler. Greg Smith is helping to fill that void, and while he's been a stout post defender, he's ground-bound, and is no where near the athlete you want playing center. They'll do their due diligence on Jermaine O'Neal and Emeka Okafor, but I don't think that moves the needle all that much.

And that's perfectly fine as long as the offense clicks. Dirk's shooting has slipped in December, but they can take solace in Chandler Parsons slowly finding his rhythm. There's warning signs in a few key areas of their offense, particularly with divvying up ball handling duties in their backcourt, which I'm sure Rick Carlisle will manage to circumvent in the coming weeks. It's so early in the season and the Mavs are still a legit title contender in a stacked conference.

Who wins? Believe it or not, I'm taking the Wizards. Wall thrives on the back-end of back to backs, and he'll relish his matchup against Rondo. Their half court defense last night against a loaded Rockets team was nearly flawless aside from the occasional run-outs they allowed due to floor balancing issues. I think they will be okay with Ellis going off on them once again if it means bottling up Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons, and if they expose Rondo's poor shooting the way they did Patrick Beverley, Wall will leave his imprint all over this game.