Saturday night’s NBA match-up at the Verizon Center was never really in Washington’s hands. The odds were stacked against them. The Dallas Mavericks are a good basketball team. They’re quick across the court, powerful in the key, and stonewall-solid on the defensive end. They’re sporting a starting five with Tyson Chandler. They’re record (41-16) eclipses the Wizards’ (15-42).
Long story short: It wasn’t looking good for Washington. Then John Wall took the ball to the bucket 24 times, cutting straight down the paint to the hoop like Speedy Gonzalez. He also picked up five assists, though he did miss some of those free throws. Wall will freely admit that his free throws need work though. He wasn’t ashamed to say so.
“We all stepped up and just played hard and played with confidence. We competed,” Wall said after the game.
Nick Young gave Wall company in the showmanship department. Young jumped into a 360-reverse layup, around Chandler, going under the basket. There are barely more words to describe except that it showy, unexpected, and pretty awesome.
There were a few growing pains for the Wizards though. Some of them were due to a defeat to Miami the night before and some were due to an evolving chemistry on the court in a post-trade atmosphere.
“[…] More than anything else, we played individual [against Dallas]. You know when we play individual we’re not very good,” Coach Flip Saunders said after the game.
Saunders did find a positive point on the evening though. “[Getting the players from Atlanta] has been refreshing for some of our others players because when things go bad they don’t try to do it by themselves, they try to do it as a team and that’s what we have to do more or less.”
The deciding factor in the Mavericks’ eventual 105-99 victory over Washington was a slow defensive second quarter for the Wizards. Dallas scored 36 points during that second quarter. Saunders’ bunch banked 27.
“We’re playing better. We’re moving the ball better. Unfortunately, we’re playing against really good teams right now,” Saunders said. Saturday wasn’t the end of that road for the week either. Washington hosts a hot Chicago team at the Verizon Center on Monday.