Setting the Table: Washington Wizards (Game 32)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on January 1, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (12-19) look to start a new beginning in 2013 as they make their lone trip to the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Wizards (4-24). As Dirk Nowitzki said after their sixth loss in a row, the Mavericks are now in a “must-win” game. The game will mark the second straight year, and the third time in franchise history, that the Mavericks will play on New Year’s Day. Dallas is 0-2 all-time in New Year’s Day games. The Mavericks lost, 111-105, at New Jersey on Jan. 1, 1983. Dallas also fell, 99-87, at Milwaukee last season on Jan. 1, 2012.

The game will mark the first night of a back-to-back for the Mavericks. Dallas is 1-7 in the first half of a back-to-back and 2-6 in the second half of a back-to-back this season. The Mavericks have 16 back-to-backs in 2012-13, with only one stretch of four games in five nights. In total, 10 back-to-backs are on the road, three begin at home and conclude on the road and three are road-to-home. Dallas played 22 back-to-backs in 2011-12, going 7-15 in the first half and 13-9 in the second half of those back-to-backs.

Washington will be without the services of John Wall, Trevor Booker, Trevor Ariza and A.J. Price. Jordan Crawford is listed as questionable with a sore left ankle. The Wizards went 3-11 during the month of December, so a loss to the Wizards would be very detrimental for the Mavericks.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Wizards

Series Notes:

The Mavericks have won five straight and 16 of the last 21 meetings with the Wizards. The Wizards’ last win over the Mavericks came in Dallas on Oct. 27, 2009, defeated the Mavericks 102-91. Dallas took the first meeting between the two clubs this season 107-101 at home on Nov. 14. O.J. Mayo (25) and Chris Kaman (23) both topped 20 points, and Elton Brand posted a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for Dallas in the win. The two teams go into the game on New Year’s Day ranked third and fourth in the league in bench scoring. The Wizards enter the game on averaging 41.4 bench points per game, while the Mavericks go in averaging 41.3 bench points per game.

The two teams met just once in 2011-12, on Mar. 13, 2012, and Dallas recorded a 107-98 victory at home. Shawn Marion moved into 100th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in that game against the Wizards. The Mavericks have taken 10-of-13 on the road against the Wizards, including the most recent three matchups in Washington. The Mavericks have also won three straight and nine of the last 11 in Dallas.

It’s a Small World:

Mavericks center Chris Kaman was a teammate of Wizards forward Trevor Ariza and Wizards center Emeka Okafor on the New Orleans Hornets in 2011-12. Mavericks guard Dahntay Jones played with Wizards center Nenê on the Denver Nuggets during the 2008-09 season. Wizards head coach Randy Whittman was an assistant with the Mavericks during the 1993-94 season. Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin and Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois both hail from France. Washington assistant coach Sam Cassell played in 16 games for Dallas in 1996-97. Wizards forward Chris Singleton and Mavericks center Bernard James played one year of college ball together at Florida State in 2010-11. Singleton (Canton), James (Savannah) and Mavericks forward Jae Crowder (Villa Rica) all grew up in Georgia.

Three Keys:

1. Don’t start the year with a shooting drought. Three of Washington’s wins on the year have come when they have shot a higher shooting percentage than their opponent. The Mavericks are 3-13 this season when they shoot worse than their opponent. The barometer for success can still hover around 45 percent shooting as the Mavericks are 11-4 this season when they shoot at least 45 percent from the field.

2. Remember who Cartier Martin is. Cartier Martin scored 14 points on 5-of-6 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from three-point range in 9:56 minutes of play off of the bench in the first game against the Mavericks this season. He scored all of his points in the fourth quarter. With efforts from Danilo Gallinari and Manu Ginobili lately, the Mavericks can’t afford to have another game where an opponent goes wild against them from beyond the arc.

3. Respond to Rick Carlisle’s challenge. Carlisle was clearly frustrated after the loss to the Spurs on Dec. 30. The Mavericks simply have to respond and say that losing is no longer acceptable. Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Cuban have not been around a Mavericks squad that has lost seven games in a row. The last time the Mavericks were on a seven-game losing streak was during the 1998-99 season (Feb. 2 through Feb. 19, 1999). It’s time for the team to dust themselves off and get back to their winning ways.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.