The Dallas Mavericks came to the nation’s capital Tuesday with just one victory on the season. They left with a second, surprising the Washington Wizards 113-99 behind Harrison Barnes’ game-high 31 points.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks harped on his team’s defensive effort — or lack thereof — afterward.
“Our start defensively, it has not been good the last couple of games,” he said. “We gave up 36 [first-quarter points] tonight. We keep talking about being a defensive team. We have to be an action-defending team and right now we are not doing that.”
The loss was the Wizards’ third in a row at home. In the previous two home games, Washington (5-5) allowed the Phoenix Suns to score 116 on Nov. 1, then gave up 130 points Friday to the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James, who scored 57 points.
Dallas (2-10), which ranks among the league’s worst with just three blocks per game, had eight rejections Tuesday. The Mavericks, in the NBA’s bottom five at 46 rebounds per game, grabbed 53 against the Wizards.
The Wizards managed just 39 rebounds — 14 below the team average — with backup point guard Tim Frazier and forward Kelly Oubre Jr. leading the way with seven apiece.
“It’s pretty much with the same with all our loses,” said Bradley Beal, who scored 23 points on 8-for-20 shooting. “We didn’t play hard. They outworked us. We developed a bad habit in not coming out with energy. We didn’t defend. You don’t win if you don’t defend.”
The Wizards also had trouble containing Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr., who flirted with a triple-double with 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
“Dennis Smith was a great basketball player tonight,” said Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. “He was great in all areas. He demonstrated aggression, poise, smarts and leadership. It’s great to see.”
The Wizards host the Los Angeles Lakers (5-5) on Thursday. The Lakers defeated Washington 102-99 in overtime in their first meeting in Los Angeles on Oct. 25.