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Wizards at Mavericks Preview: Bouncing Back In Big D

Regular Season Game 34

Wizards (16-17) at Mavericks (10-24)

January 3, 2016 at 8:30 PM
American Airlines Center | Dallas, TX
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 1500 AM


Last time they met was..

December 13, 2015 – American Airlines Center, Dallas: Wizards 114, Mavericks 111


What to watch:

The Wizards cruise tonight.

Or at least that’s what we’re should be watching. The Wizards are in that weird state where we want to believe they’re a good team but we’re subjected to moments in games where we realize that they aren’t..just yet.

Take for example last night in Houston. The Wizards owned a commanding lead in the 1st quarter and maintained up until halftime where they led by 12, and then witness a debacle of colossal measure ensuing in the second half. The Wizards defense surrendered 37 points to the Rockets in the 3rd, while the Wizards offense totaled just 38 points in the 3rd and 4th quarters combined. That’s called a heat check and the Wizards failed it.

Tonight they face the 10-win Mavericks. That’s 10 wins in 34 tries. That’s not very good. That’s substantially worse than the Wizards. If the Wizards are who we thought – or want to think they are – then they win tonight’s game with few issues.


Key Matchup:

Otto Porter vs. Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes, a casualty of the Kevin Durant acquisition in Golden State, has quietly been the star in Dallas amid a terrible season for the Mavericks.

Barnes comes into tonight’s game looking to erase the memory of an unsuccessful return to Golden State on Friday night. Barnes finished with a team-high 25 points but with the Mavs down 22 points late in the game, Barnes spent much of the 4th quarter on the bench. On the season, Barnes is averaging a team-high 20.4 points to go with 5.5 rebounds a night.

Otto Porter, who has pretty much solidified himself as a professional basketball player attaining maximum dollar value, looks to have a bounce-back game of his own. Last night in Houston, Otto recorded one of his poorest stat lines of the sesaon, going just 4-12 from the field and missing all five of his 3-point shots.


X-Factor:

The Dallas bench.

Apr 8, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Justin Anderson (1) and guard Devin Harris (34) and forward Dwight Powell (7) react during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Justin Anderson (1) and guard Devin Harris (34) and forward Dwight Powell (7) react during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

While the Mavs mostly suck, they do somehow manage to garner some production from one or more of their bench players on any given night. Be it rookie Dwight Powell, the lesser Curry in Seth, or Justin Anderson, the Mavs are usually bound to get a double digit scoring figure from any of these guys. Last night, Powell finished with 10 and 13 in 26 minutes of play. A few nights ago Anderson finished with 13 and 8 in just 21 minutes off the bench. Seth Curry has scored double figures in eight of his last 11 games. The Wizards last night got a total of just 13 points from their second unit. This could be a problem tonight.


Fun Factor:

Harrison Barnes can really script a funny Vine video:


Prediction:

cue Dennis Green

The Wizards are who we thought they were. A team that can out-duel a significantly more inferior team.

we are Hoop District

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