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Wizards vs. Mavericks preview: Washington aims to avoid Texas sweep in Dallas

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

When: Tuesday, January 3 at 8:30 pm ET
Where: American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 1500 AM and Wizards Radio App

Injury Report

Wizards: Ian Mahinmi (Out, Knee), Danuel House (Out, Wrist)
Mavericks: J.J. Barca (Out, Achilles), Deron Williams (Day-to-Day, Illness)

What to Watch for

Wizards coming off a back to back

It will be interesting to see the energy levels of the starting squad for the Washington Wizards, as they all logged 33+ minutes in the 101-91 loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday night, in the first game of their back to back. The Wizards are currently 1-4 on the second night of back to backs (though John Wall did not play in the first two of those games). Hopefully their struggles in some of the earlier back-to-backs this season will give the team some fuel to get back to .500 for the season.

Playing down to competition

The Mavericks come into Tuesday’s game with a 10-24 record and averaging a league-low 95.1 points per game. That being said, the Wizards have lost multiple games this year to sub .500 teams including the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat. It seems like every game the Wizards play is a close game no matter the team on the floor. They are a team known to squander leads (just look at Monday’s game for proof), so don’t tune out if the Wizards jump out to an early lead.

This shouldn’t be a challenging game, but hey, stranger things have happened.

Otto Porter vs. Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes has been playing exceptionally well this year, after plenty of people questioned whether or not he was worth the money Dallas paid him in the summer. With Dirk Nowitzki having to sit out some games as well as Deron Williams, Barnes has been picking up the scoring load. He is averaging a career high 20.4 points per game while shooting 46.7 percent from the field.

Otto Porter now finds himself in a similar position to what Barnes faced last season, trying to prove his value even though he isn’t a primary scoring threat. It should be interesting to see how they fare against one another in this one.

Most Likely Wizards Killer: Wesley Matthews

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards are allowing opponents to shoot 37 percent from the floor from three this season, a place where Matthews does his best work. This season, Matthews is shooting 38 percent from three but the Wizards have a nasty habit of letting good three point shooters exceed their averages. For example, the Wizards let Eric Gordon shoot 6-12 from deep on Monday. It also probably doesn’t help that Beal’s ankle is still probably a bit sore from last week. Don’t be surprised if Matthews gets a lot of good looks on Tuesday.