The Mavericks, who came into the game a league-worst 1-10 on the season, opened the game with a 7-0 run on the way to a 36 point first quarter. Then, J.J. Barea caught fire when the reserves entered the game, racking up 8 points and 4 assists during a six minute stretch during the first and second quarter that helped the Mavericks establish a double-digit lead.
Wizards fans are used to seeing games start that way, but typically, when the starters re-enter the game, they usually get the game back to a manageable deficit with a big run to end the second quarter or start the third. That didn’t happen in this one. The starters could only close the gap to eight in the first half and let it swell back up to double-digits in the third quarter.
Washington finally got a big run thanks to a bench unit anchored by Otto Porter and Jason Smith that made it a one possession game, but that was as close as they’d get. When Dallas’ starters returned, they opened the lead back up to double digits and pulled away for a comfortable win.
The Wizards never led at any point during Tuesday’s loss and are now back at .500 on the season, with a 1-3 mark against teams with losing records.
Bench finds a spark with Jason Smith
Naturally, you’d think some of the Wizards’ bench woes would get better now that Markieff Morris is starting to get healthy, but that wasn’t the case in the first half. Even after announcing before the game that Morris would play 24 minutes tonight, Scott Brooks opted to open the second quarter with an all-bench lineup that committed two turnovers and failed to make a field goal in over four minutes together.
In the second half, Brooks shook things up by keeping Otto Porter in the game and playing Jason Smith at the 5 instead of Ian Mahinmi. The unit went on a 12-0 to start the fourth quarter that helped keep the game competitive. We’ll see if that run convinces Brooks to go back to that lineup more in the future.
John Wall didn’t skip a beat
Wall returned to the starting lineup after missing Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury and didn’t waste any time demonstrating he was good to go. He scored 12 points and had 5 assists in the opening quarter.
More importantly, he wasn’t hesitant attacking the basket, earning 18 free throws tonight, and didn’t look any worse for the wear when he hit the ground on that sore shoulder. He finished with an efficient 23 points on 10 shots and had 14 assists.
You can quibble with his defensive performance tonight, but that doesn’t really have much to do with his shoulder and frankly, his best defensive moment came when he made a chasedown block where he slapped the ball away with the arm connected to his sore shoulder.
Yes, the Wizards clearly have some issues right now, but at least they don’t have to worry about Wall’s shoulder holding them back.
- Markieff Morris made two of his four 3-point attempts in this one, but on the whole he’s still not himself. I get that it’s important to get players on the mend some playing time to shake off the rust, but starting hm and playing him 27 minutes when he’s not himself made things more difficult this evening.
- Dallas came into tonight’s game with the worst rebounding rate in the league. They outrebounded Washington 53-39 this evening.
- Speaking of rebounding, most of the discussion will be around Jason Smith perhaps supplanting Ian Mahinmi in the rotation, but it was an off night for Marcin Gortat as well. He only had 5 rebounds in under 25 minutes of action. The Mavericks’ small lineup took him out of his element and it showed throughout the game.
- Earlier we noted the Wizards are 1-3 against teams under .500. The thing to keep in mind is that should look different, but the Lakers are at .500 thanks to defeating Washington.
- Highlight of the night: John Wall making Devin Harris into a gymnast.
I really wish Wall finished this pic.twitter.com/jMubJGAKBp— eddie hobbs (@PopTopHobbs) November 8, 2017
Next up: The Wizards will try to get revenge for last month’s loss in Los Angeles as they host the Lakers on Thursday at 7 p.m.