Wizards need to bank wins as Mavericks visit
If the Washington Wizards, who host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night, are going surge into playoff position, the time for them to make a move is now.
Beginning with Sunday's win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Wizards (26-37) are in an eight-game stretch with seven against teams with losing records and six at home, where Washington is 18-12.
Three of those contests (two against Charlotte and one versus Orlando) are against the teams they are chasing. The Wizards are 11th in the Eastern Conference, a few games behind a logjam of the Hornets, Magic and Miami Heat.
Washington has won two of three following Sunday's 135-121 victory over the visiting Timberwolves.
Bobby Portis had 26 points and 12 rebounds, and Bradley Beal and reserve Jabari Parker added 22 points each for Washington. Portis shot 10 of 18 from the field, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
"Been rebounding the ball pretty well but haven't had that good shooting night like I wanted," said Portis, who had made 35.7 percent from the field over his previous four games. "So, I was due for one, and tonight it happened."
Washington managed to break even with Minnesota on the boards and scored 21 fast-break points.
"That's what we are trying to do," said Parker, who scored 11 points in the third quarter. "We have multiple ball handlers, and if we can get it off the basket as quick as we can get on to the offensive end."
The team also managed the ball better. The Wizards came in averaging 18 turnovers per game since the All-Star break but committed only eight against the Timberwolves, who lost their third straight.
Washington now looks to take advantage of the reeling Mavericks (27-36), who have lost seven of eight and eight of 10, all by at least nine points. Their last two losses have come by a total of 69 points.
On Monday night, the Brooklyn Nets snapped a three-game losing streak with a 127-88 victory over the visiting Mavericks. Dallas trailed the entire game, with the deficit ballooning to as many as 44 points.
"It was ugly from start to finish," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told the Dallas Morning News. "When you lose every quarter of an NBA game, you certainly haven't done what you need to do. It's a very disappointing night."
Dwight Powell scored 20 points, and Luka Doncic had 16 for the Mavericks, who shot 35.6 percent from the field after shooting 30.6 percent in a 30-point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.
"We're not shooting the ball well, unfortunately, at all, even wide-open shots and layups, and I think that deflates us a little bit," Dirk Nowitzki told the Morning News. "And then our defense is not great.
Carlisle kept the locker room closed past the usual 15-minute cooling off period as he addressed the team Monday night. He declined to discuss what he told the Mavericks after they fell to 6-25 in road games, the second-worst home record in the NBA.
"Gotta play harder," Nowitzki said.
Dallas has owned the matchup against Washington of late, winning five straight and 16 of the last 17. In November, the Mavericks won 119-100 in Dallas as Doncic scored 23 points. John Wall, whose season ended with surgery in December, scored 24 for Washington.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 5, 2019