Monday, December 5, 2022
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Preview: Washington Wizards (12-7) at Dallas Mavericks (10-7)

The Washington Wizards will go for a sweep of back-to-back road games when they visit the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.

After losing two straight and four of five, the Wizards got back on track with a 101-99 victory in Oklahoma City on Friday night. The Mavericks haven’t played since Tuesday.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bradley Beal scored 20 points each and the Wizards, who led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter, held off a late-game rally by the Thunder.

Caldwell-Pope hit two crucial 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

“I tell him anytime it touches his hand, (the ball) needs to go up,” Beal said. “And that’s all he did, man. I saw he had it going early — keep giving it to him, keep giving it to him. He shoots it with power. That’s what we need.”

Montrezl Harrell added 14 points off the Washington bench, and center Daniel Gafford registered a career high with eight blocks.

Oklahoma City’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer missed.

“Lucky,” Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “We got enough stops late in the fourth (quarter) to come away with it, but there was a lot of coverage confusion during that stretch. … We’ve got to be better.”

Washington is experiencing turnover problems of late, recording 15 or more giveaways in five consecutive games.

The Wizards continued their success at the free-throw line, though, making all 15 of their attempts.

Unseld said guard Spencer Dinwiddie (10 points and two assists vs. the Thunder) probably would rest against the Mavericks. Dinwiddie, recovering from ACL surgery, has not been playing the second half of back-to-backs.

Dallas blew a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead on Tuesday but ended a three-game losing streak with a 112-104 overtime win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Mavericks went 0-3 last week when Luka Doncic was sidelined due to left ankle and left knee injuries. He returned to face the Clippers and contributed 26 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and two blocked shots.

“I mean mentally, I was really happy to be back,” Doncic said. “I miss basketball. I know it’s only been three (games), but I will do everything possible to play the game. I felt great after I woke up from my nap. I was just ready to go.”

Dallas big man Kristaps Porzingis had 30 points, including six in overtime, and seven rebounds. He went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line.

Porzingis is averaging 21.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He has scored 21 or more points in seven straight.

“My teammates are trusting me, my coaches are trusting me. I’m out there just having fun,” Porzingis said. “If you’re not having fun, it’s tough to play and give your all. I feel like this year, we have that kind of environment and we’re just playing hard for each other and having fun out there.”

The improved Mavericks’ defense held the Clippers to 0-for-7 shooting from the field in overtime. Dallas is yielding an average of 105.4 points per game this season, down from 110.2 last season.

Dallas guard Jalen Brunson, who averaged 18.7 points and nine assists during the losing streak, left the Wednesday game after injuring his foot, but he was able to practice on Friday.

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