It would make for a great storyline if – with a pack
of Pittsburgh Steeler players watching from a plush suite – the Mavericks
rolled out a steel curtain defense and completely shut down the Washington
Wizards. On this night, it was more like a shower curtain. It was enough to
keep the Wizards from splashing out of their season-long road losing streak.
But that was about it as the Mavericks completed their best homestand since
March of 2008, putting a cap on a 4-0 run at American Airlines Center with a
102-92 victory over Washington Monday night.
Tyson Chandler continued his remarkable run of late with 18
points and 18 rebounds, while Dirk Nowitzki threw in 24 points to lead yet
another balanced Mavericks’ attack.
And yet, it wasn’t easy. The Wizards fell to 0-24 on
the road this season but were within six points in the fourth quarter before
Nowitzki completed a four-point possession on which Wizards’ coach Flip
Saunders was nailed with a technical foul. That made it 91-81 and the Mavericks
had enough breathing room to survive.
It was their fifth win in a row overall and while the
defense was solid, the Wizards didn’t help themselves with some iffy shot
selection. Even with shooting guard Nick Young turning around to talk to the
Mavericks’ bench on a couple of occasions, it seemed the Mavericks were
getting the last laugh as Young shot 6-of-20.
It did get a little sticky at the end. The Wizards were back
within 95-91and had the ball with under three minutes to go, but Andray Blatche
threw it out of bounds. Nowitzki scored, then Jason Kidd who narrowly
missed a triple-double with 11 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, hit a
3-pointer from the corner to ice it.
The teams exchanged eight-point runs in the third quarter,
after which the Mavericks were up 66-62. When Jason Kidd knocked down a 3-ball
from the corner, it was 72-64 with under three minutes to go in the third. But
the Mavericks could not put away the Wizards, who were within 74-68 going into
The Wizards shot 41 percent, were outrebounded by six and
gave up 53 percent shooting to the Mavericks in the first half. Yet the
Mavericks led by just a single point, 50-49.
The key was turnovers. The Mavericks had eight of them and
Washington only turned it over once in the first half.
Tyson Chandler had a double-double by the break with 13
points and 10 rebounds. He had somewhat of an advantage at the starting center
spot. Washington’s Andray Blatche was 1-of-10 from the field at halftime
with six points and six rebounds.