Defense leads the way for Dallas against Washington

Both the Mavericks(27-21) and Wizards(17-31) were shorthanded on Saturday night in D.C. Washington was without their leading- scorer Bradley Beal(right hip contusion) and Rui Hachimura(shoulder), while the Mavericks were without three starters in Kristaps Porzingis(rest), Maxi Kleber(left leg injury), and Josh Richardson(left calf tightness).

With both teams depleted, it was the next man up, and the next men stepped up for Dallas. Boban Marjanovic stepped in for Porzingis and had 15 points and 12 rebounds, Tim Hardaway Jr. stepped in for Richardson and scored 16 points, and newly-acquired Nicolo Melli stepped in for Kleber to score 10 points, and of course, Luka Doncic led the way for the Mavericks with 26 points, eight rebounds, and six assists as Dallas defeated Washington 109-87. 

Dallas had another solid defensive effort against Washington. On Friday night, the Mavericks held the Knicks to 86 points, and three quarters of 20 points or less, which is one of the reasons the team won, according to head coach Rick Carlisle, who returned to the bench on Saturday after a COVID-19 scare forced him to miss the win against New York.

“20 point defensive quarter in the third, 20 point defensive quarter in the fourth, and that was the key,” Carlisle said.

The Wizards(113.5 ppg) do score the basketball at a high level, and even without Beal and Hachimura in the lineup, Carlisle was still impressed with how the Mavericks defended. 

“We knew that we could defend a lot better than we were the first month of the season, the first five weeks,” Carlisle said. “But, this team is showing you what’s it’s capable of. The game last night in New York, holding them in the 80s, I think it was. Tonight, holding these guys to 87. I don’t care if Beal’s out, Hachimura’s out. These guys can score.” 

Dallas is starting to look like the team that many thought could possibly be when the season started. They ended their five-game road trip 4-1 and have won four straight. They have to continue to stay healthy and stay committed to playing defense.

On Monday night, the Mavericks return home to battle the team with the best record in basketball, the Utah Jazz. 

Photo: @Mavs/Twitter

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