“I was telling him the whole time, ‘You can still jump high as you used to,’ ” Beal said afterward. “He was like, ‘Oh, I’m getting old.’ I remember him a little bit, all the spectacular dunks he did, and he still has some of that athleticism.”
Carter scored a game-high 23 points and punctuated the win when he drove down the lane for an emphatic one-handed jam with a little more than a minute remaining to remind those who might’ve forgotten how he used to test the laws of gravity.
Beal matched his career high with 22 points on a night when the team handed out his bobblehead doll. But in a symbolic and frightening example of the frustration that this miserable campaign has wrought for Wizards supporters, a fan apparently tossed a Beal bobblehead from the upper deck. The doll shattered, with shards ricocheting and hitting one onlooker in the lower bowl in the left ear.
The Wizards (4-25) also went to pieces during a forgettable third quarter, when the Mavericks scored Carter’s age (35) while the Wizards matched Beal’s (19) and Dallas took control of a game that Washington led by 14 points in the first half.
“Third quarter, they came out and kind of blitzed us pretty good there,” Coach Randy Wittman said after his team lost to the Mavericks for the second time this season. “This is a veteran team with guys that have won a championship. They were a wounded team, coming in here, this was a big game. Carter came in from a veteran standpoint and kind of led them.”
The Mavericks (13-19) became the third team in the past three weeks to take on the Wizards while riding a lengthy losing streak. The Wizards had already helped the Los Angeles Lakers end a four-game skid and the Detroit Pistons snap a six-game slide.
Dallas entered Tuesday’s game having lost six games in a row by an average of 19.2 points despite the return of all-star forward Dirk Nowitzki in the past five games.
Nowitzki entered the game in a horrific slump, connecting on just 32.4 percent of his shots from the field, but he finished with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 17 minutes as he claimed his first victory since coming back from offseason surgery on his right knee. He buried back-to-back jumpers over Wizards reserve Jan Vesely to conclude a 22-11 run over the final seven minutes of the third period.
“We wake up the beast,” Nene said of Nowitzki. “All these games, Nowitzki didn’t score, why he going to score tonight? New year, probably.”