The last time the Mavericks met the Wizards, things didn't go so well. The Mavs lost to the Wizards 110-98 and got outhustled and outplayed for most of the game. It would be the last of three consecutive losses—their longest losing streak of the season. It is their second consecutive loss to the Wizards and they are the only Eastern conference team to currently hold a two-game winning streak against the Mavericks. This is the final regular-season meeting between the two.
Who needs Arenas?
Just kidding, of course. Gilbert Arenas is one of the top guards in the league and has been sidelined after having knee surgery shortly after the season started. He is currently expected back shortly after the All-Star break, but it's not like the Wizards have crashed without their best player. Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison have stepped into the void and carried the team in his absence and guards Deshawn Stevenson and Antonio Daniels have done a serviceable job holding up the guard duties. The Wizards are 21-17 and sit at two games back in the Southeast division behind the Orlando Magic. When Arenas returns, they should be primed to make a dash at a higher seed going into the playoffs.
The Wizards recently defeated the Boston Celtics in consecutive games, which is the only time this season the 32-6 Celtics have lost back-to-back games. They held the Celtics to a season-low 78 points and season lows in field goals made and attempted in the first game, then traveled to Boston two nights later to visit another beating on the NBA's top team.
Statistically similar to Mavs?
There are several stats in which the Mavs and Wizards are similar, which may be part of the reason they have struggled recently against them. The Wizards are ranked third in the league in free-throw percentage (79.9%) while the Mavs are first (82%). Their accurate free-throw shooting has been an advantage they have used many times this season, but likely won't be able to exercise as much today. Both teams also rank in the bottom third of the league in assists, and attempt a similar number of field goals. Their strength in free-throws is part of what forces those two stats down. They also have similar scoring offenses and defenses with the Mavs 8th in the league in offense (101.5 pts) and 9th in defense (96.2 pts allowed) and the Wizards 10th in offense (99.3 pts) and 11th in defense (96.8 pts allowed).
Do you think Gilbert Arenas will return to full strength this season?
-Scooter Hendon, Hoops Nerd